Market data from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association shows that British consumers bought over 73 million bottles of gin last year recording sales of £2.1bn, the first time annual gin sales have topped £2bn.

From January to March 2017, 6.4 million bottles of gin were sold in the UK, which soared to nine million bottles during the same period in 2018. Over the 2018 Christmas period, gin sales were up 40% over 2017.

Last year flavoured gin was valued at £165m, showing an enormous increase of 751% compared with 2017 as more brands brought out speciality gins.

Combined sales of British gin in the UK and for the export market have doubled in the last five years. There are 361 distilleries in the UK, more than double the amount in the country five years ago, and more than double the number of gins are available in the UK than in 2011.

Wine and Spirit Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale said: “The truly staggering rise in gin sales shows that British gin is gaining more and more fans by the day. And we fully expect to see sales rise again in March this year, just as they did last year.

“Its high time gin’s new status and reputation were celebrated and supported by Government, which should be offering more support for British gin exports and a less taxing duty regime, both of which fails to support our entrepreneurial and innovative distillers.”

Pickering’s Gin co-founder Marcus Pickering said: “In terms of global thirst for British products, distilling in Britain and Scotland specifically has become world-renowned for producing high-quality products.”

Spirit makers are expecting to see an increase in gin sales in 2019. The IWSR Forecast Report predicts that gin sales will increase by 37% by 2021.