The number of distillery businesses in the UK increased by a fifth last year amid continued expansion of the craft spirits industry, according to a new report.

Research by law firm RPC suggested there were a record number of trade mark registrations in the last year.

The number of new trade marks registered for spirits jumped 12 per cent in the past year, with 2,482 filed in 2018, up from 2,210 in the previous 12 months, said the report.

The number of distillery businesses in the UK increased to 205 in 2018, up from 170 in 2017.

Flavoured gins enjoyed a record year in 2018, with a 751 per cent increase in sales in the UK, the research showed.

Ciara Cullen, of RPC, said: “Consumer demand for new flavours and experiences has contributed to increased innovation and diversification of product lines – we are seeing all kinds of exciting new infusions.

“A lot of multinational distillers are now bringing out extra lines and limited runs of niche drinks, to compete with independents that have started to bite into their market share.”

Alison Higgins of the Scottish Gin Society, stated that nowhere is the rise in businesses more apparent than in Scotland, where the demand for gin shows no sign of slowing, she added: “2019 has been another great year for Scottish Gin. So far we have added 18 new distilleries to our online map, taking the number of gin distilleries to over 90.

“This is quite remarkable and shows the continuing growth of this exciting category.”

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