UK distilleries up 30% in one year

The number of distillery businesses in the UK jumped 30% in a year from 131 in 2016, to 170 in 2017, says UHY Hacker Young, the national accountancy group.

UHY Hacker Young says entrepreneurs are looking to capitalise on the increasing consumer demand for craft spirits. Spirts of unusual and innovative flavours have grown in popularity, particularly among young consumers, as has preference to ‘buy-locally’ from smaller, urban breweries and distilleries.

James Simmonds, Partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “The UK spirits industry is currently in growth mode and shows no signs of slowing, as illustrated by the increase in new distillery businesses.

“The growth of the UK spirits industry looks to continue into 2018 as consumer demand for premium priced spirits, an increase in M&A activity, and the rising number of distillery businesses shows no signs of slowing.”

Smaller, independent alcohol brands that have generated high sales growth and achieved premium pricing have become attractive targets for larger companies.

At the beginning of 2018, Spanish group Diego Zamora acquired a 45% stake in Reformed Spirits Company Ltd, owner of Martin Miller's Gin, while earlier this year, Liverpool-based company Halewood Wine & Spirits acquired Cornish spiced rum brand Dead Man’s Fingers.

Consumer demand for craft rum has also led to a growth in the number of UK rum brands, such as the English Spirit Distillery’s Old Salt Rum, and Spirit Masters’ Glorious Revolution White Rum.