Last year 83 million bottles of gin were sold in the UK – worth around £2.6 billion – with gin sales almost doubling in value in just two years.

And despite the ongoing lockdown, the latest reports show that gin is the best-selling spirit for online shoppers since March, according to the WSTA’s latest data.

According to latest HMRC figures, we exported £672 million worth British gin in 2019, taking total gin sales, at home and abroad, to over £3.2 billion.

A CGA snap survey at the end of March revealed that gin was the most popular spirit being bought online, and behind only wine and beer as our most popular tipple ordered via the internet.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “Gin sales continued to grow throughout 2019 despite a number of predictions that the bubble will have to burst soon.

“We knew that growth in the gin category would slow eventually, it was always inevitable given the incredible numbers we were seeing from 2016 onwards. We remain optimistic that British gin will continue to create a stir at home and abroad as our innovative distillers continue to produce new colours, creations and botanical masterpieces.

“Online demand for gin has outstripped all others in the spirit category during the lockdown of the last few months, and provided that SMEs can survive the ongoing economic uncertainty wrought by the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s clear that gin’s success can be maintained at home and replicated abroad as our distillers look to export.

“British spirits are world renowned. Provided our SMEs can survive the current economic uncertainty there is potential – and significant motivation – to build UK spirits exports. But, this will need the right Government support, especially for SME distillers. We believe British gin exports could be a tonic for British SMEs post-pandemic recovery.”

In 2013 there were 152 distilleries in the UK, 96 of those were in Scotland. Fast forward to latest numbers from 2019 and there are at least 441 distilleries – and it is England which now boasts the largest number distilleries, although Scotland still has some of the largest.

By 2016 gin was experiencing double-digit growth in both volume and value sales, with 2018 seeing a peak growth period where volume sales were up 42% and value sales a staggering 50%.