Top of the shots in 2021

Tequila and liqueurs were top of the shots in 2021 when it came to increased sales in UK shops and supermarkets.

The latest Wine and Spirit Trade Association market report reveals that over one and a half million bottles of Tequila were sold in Britain in the 12 months to September this year, up 36% on the same period the year before.

Tequila has gone from being a cocktail ingredient to becoming a popular sipping drink enjoyed on its own, which has helped the value of tequila sales jump to £33 million.

It was a similar story for liqueurs which saw sales increase 27%, the equivalent of over 44 million bottles sold worth £561million.

The growing range of colourful liqueurs available on the UK market has proved popular with Brits who, keen to break the boredom of lockdown, enjoyed cocktail making Zooms and sharing cocktail ideas on social media.

With the hospitality sector locked down for much of the last 12 months more traditional spirits were sold in much greater volumes, in the off-trade, with vodka (selling over 102 million bottles) remaining the most popular spirit to drink at home followed by whiskies (almost 86 million bottles) and in third place gin (over 73 million bottles).

This year saw a slight dip in gin sales, down -1% in volume and -2% in value. This follows an incredible run of record-breaking growth in the last five years.

Liqueurs shot into fourth place and rum comes in fifth with a steady growth up 13% in volume, selling over 37 million bottles.

Miles Beale Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“The liqueur category covers an array of colours and flavours making liqueur drinks very popular to share on social media. With the public having to find different ways of brightening up their weekends during the lockdown in the first half of this year we saw a keenness to experiment with new and exciting drinks choices.

Regrettably, the Government proposals to overhaul UK alcohol taxation, could hamper the growth of the great British spirit sector. We are mystified by a proposal that embeds unfairness between products meaning that the most popular spirit drinks will pay, for the same amount of alcohol, the highest rate of duty of any category of drink.

For those who enjoy a G&T at home, under the Government’s proposals you will pay 45p duty on a double G&T in a can, but if you pour yourself a double gin at home and then dilute with tonic you will pay 57p duty for your efforts. The Government proposals seem wholly contradictory to the stated aims of ironing out inequalities, instead it’s introduced yet more.”

Brad Madigan, Managing Director, Campari Group UK, said:

“We know that changing consumer occasions have translated into different alcohol purchasing habits over the past year. Easy-to-create cocktails at home have experienced a real boost – in the first eight weeks of the year, we saw a 70% increase in online searches for Aperol Spritz compared to the same period in 2020[1], as consumers sought to recreate the iconic, Aperol Spritz serve in their own homes. Aperol registered very positive, double digit growth in the first three quarters of 2021 here in the UK to reflect this, as the brand continues to benefit from sustained home consumption. We’ve also seen a strong performance by CAMPARI over the same period, benefitting from home mixology trends and the popularity of the Negroni – the 7th most searched for cocktail[2] according to Google’s UK search data.

“In the On Trade we are certainly seeing the return of more connected moments post-lockdown, where brands like Aperol helped bring people together again. It was fantastic to see the exciting innovation from the industry too in response to the challenges of the past 18 months, with the rise of the pre-batched cocktail for popular serves like the Negroni – bringing bar-quality drinks to homes across the country.

“Regardless of whether enjoyed at home or in bars and restaurants, it’s clear cocktails are a much-loved part of British culture – and we hope to see the continued support of the spirits industry next year and beyond.”

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