Gin popularity sees distillery boom across Wales

Gin and tonic Image copyright Thinkstock

It has been around for centuries but gin is seeing a boom, especially in the amount of distilleries opening in Wales.

The number has doubled in the past year from six to 12 and that growth looks set to continue with more opening up in the past few months.

Sales of the spirit in the UK are also at an all time high with nearly £1bn spent on gin in shops, restaurant and pubs last year.

Specialised gin bars have also been opening up all over the UK in recent years and that has helped fuel the growth in sales and distilleries.

Figures from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association show that in over five years there has been a 1,100% rise in the number of gin producers in Wales.

In 2010 there was one company making gin, by 2014 it had grown to six and last year it had doubled to 12.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the trade association, believes the gin industry could now rival the whisky market and, like that, have global appeal.

"Wales and the UK have seen an explosion in the number of gin distilleries opening," he said.

"I think it's the export market that needs to be targeted now.

"It's a quintessentially British drink and we lead the way with gin already.

"Now we are seeing small players joining the already larger existing companies.

"The UK government want to see gin match the £4bn whisky market, so with them on board British gin could be promoted worldwide."

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Media captionPete Cameron, shows how he makes gin at Dyfi Distillery just outside of Machynlleth

Pete Cameron opened Dyfi Distillery just outside of Machynlleth in Powys at the end of March - one of the newest gin producers in Wales.

He does not just distil it, he also forages for the botanicals, which are used to give the drink its flavour.

It is also mixed with spring water from his hilltop farm.

"The Dyfi Valley area has been recognised by Unesco as a rare example of a biosphere reserve since 2012 and this gives us local access to both amazing water quality and a diversity of botanicals that we can forage for to make very Welsh distinctive gin, which we can sell to the UK and further afield," he said.

The custom-made stills mean Dyfi Distillery can produce 85 bottles - but demand has been great with the first batch selling out in days.

The Ginhaus deli in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, stocks the latest Welsh gin as well as 240 others from more than 46 different countries.

Its owner Mike Kindred opened it two years ago and has seen phenomenal sales in gin.

"We've sold over 4,500 bottles in the past two years," he added.

"That's significantly more than our wine sales.

"Here we get a real mix of people drinking gin from 20 year olds right up to people in their 90s. It's a nice mix with people interested in trying new gins from Wales."

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