The gin crowd.. Spirit's growth beats beer; EXCLUSIVE.
Byline: NADA FARHOUD Consumer Features Editor
ONCE known as mother's ruin, gin is sinking rival drinks as the nation gulps down a PS1.1billion boost to the economy.
Britons necked 40 million bottles last year - enough for more than a billion gin and tonics - in a spree that outstripped sales growth in beer and sparkling wine.
And as drinkers celebrate World Gin Day today, Miles Beale, chief of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: "The gin boom bubble shows no signs of bursting.
"This week saw the Treasury taking more from spirit duties than beer for the first time in history, thanks to increases in gin sales."
It comes after Office for National Statistics put gin back into its inflation calculations in March, the first time in 15 years, due to the rise in spending.
Premium brand tonic waters are also enjoying the boom. Fever-Tree founder Charles Rolls cashed in PS73million in shares last month after the firm, established in 2005, grew to become worth more than 170-year-old rival Britvic.
British gin is now sold in 139 countries, making us the world's biggest exporter. Some 40 distilleries opened in the UK last year, including one at Gatwick's North Terminal, bringing the total to 273.
Cunard cruise line even installed a gin tap on Queen Victoria in the ship's recent PS34million makeover.
Our love of gin began when soldiers fighting in 16th century Netherlands drank juniper-flavoured spirit jenever, giving rise to the term Dutch courage. Gin and tonic was especially popular in colonial days, as quinine in tonic was believed to ward off malaria.
Pour yourself a deal on World Gin Day
No.01 Spice was PS26, now PS21 at Marks & Spencer
Tanqueray No.10 was PS32.50, now PS27 at Tesco
Whitley Neill London Dry was PS26, now PS20, Sainsbury's
Bloom London Dry was PS24, now PS20 at Morrisons
Opihr Oriental Spiced London was PS22, now PS17.60, Waitrose
POPULAR Gin and tonic
TONIC BOOM G&T is mixed in the 1950s