Why buy British drinks?
British drinks are produced at the highest standards, using only the finest ingredients. Purchasing British drinks promotes a growing industry in Great Britain and aids the environment as the product travels far less than imported goods - leaving British drinks with a lower carbon footprint than their European counterparts.
Buying British drinks means you're supporting the resurgence in British drink, aiding the producers who work tirelessly for you, the consumer. In addition to this you're helping to protect one of Britain's most important assets: the unique beauty of its countryside.
British drink facts!
- There are around 470 vineyards in Britain today.
- For a whisky to be a scotch whisky it must mature in a cask in Scotland for at least three years.
- 9 % of English wine production is red wine.
- Around a third of English wine is classed as quality wine which means it has met strict regulations put in place by 'English wine producers'.
- 35,000 jobs are supported by the Scotch whisky industry.
- 83% of the beer we drink is produced in the UK - so choosing beer supports a very British industry.
- About 20 million casks of whisky lie maturing in Scotland.
- There are more than 1,200 breweries in the UK - the highest level since the 1930s - thanks to the boom in independent microbreweries. 170 new breweries opened in 2013.
- Britain produces 600 million litres of cider each year.
- In 2010, 1,567 million litres of UK-produced bottled water were consumed in this country.
- Around 10,000 beers were produced in 2013 by brewers belonging to the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), the representative body for independent British brewers.
- 34 bottles of Scotch whisky are shipped overseas per second.
- Brits enjoy 20 million pints of beer every day, making it the nation's favourite drink.
- The brewing and pubs industry employs 1 million people.
- Sales in Elderflower cordial were up 40% in 2010.
- 13 million tourists visit a British pub every year, many of them enjoying a pint of British beer.
What Britain produces: non-alcoholic
We tend to overlook where all our seasonal fruit goes, assuming it's simply picked and sold in its natural form. There are however a number of regional cordial, water, and fruit juice manufacturers producing high quality British non-alcoholic drinks.
Cordials - British Cordials are a booming market within the British drinks sector with sales in elderflower cordial up 40% this year! With Britain now producing everything from elderflower and cranberry to apple and ginger cordials there's no excuse not to give it a try.
Water - Brands such as Buxton and Highland Spring have all become household names as British bottled water makes a regular appearance on the dinner table in homes across Britain - the UK bottled water market is worth over £1.7 billion.
The latest (2013) figures from Zenith International show a breakdown by type of packaged bottled water as follows:
- Natural Mineral Water accounts for 60% of the UK market
- Spring Water accounts for 32%
- Bottled drinking waters (i.e. so-called ‘table’ waters) account for 6%
- Purified water 2% of the total market.
British Bottled Water Producers is an independent association that promotes and represents the British bottled waters.
Fruit Juices - With everything from apple juice to grapefruit juice now being produced here in Britain there's no excuse not to buy British fruit juices. Popularity has grown so much that British firms are now exporting record amounts of fruit & vegetable juice abroad as well. Demand has soared by almost 40% since 2010, making the UK the fourth biggest exporter of juice in the EU.
The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) runs a rigorous quality assurance scheme to ensure that all products labelled as 'British fruit juices' are of the highest standard and contain solely British fruit.
What Britain produces: alcoholic
Britain currently produces some fantastic alcoholic drinks, from real ale and whisky to sparkling wine and cider, Britain has become renown for quality alcohol production.
British Beer - 82% of the beer we drink in the UK is produced here - compared to just 0.2% of wine. So, drinking beer supports a very British industry, and one which has expanded rapidly over the past decade or so.
The UK now boasts more than 1,200 breweries - the highest level since the 1930's - thanks to the boom in independent microbrewers, with 170 opening last year alone. Most of these brewers produce quality, flavourful cask or real ales, for sale primarily in local pubs, though a growing number are also making craft beer in kegs, and bottling for the growing number of supermarkets who now devote part of their beer aisle to local brews.
Drinkers of all ages, and both sexes, have developed a thirst for British beer in all its forms and its impressive diversity; around 10,0000 different beers were produced last year by members of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), the representative body for independent British brewers. Find a local brewer near you, and learn more about British beer visit the SIBA website.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) campaigns for real ale, pubs & drinkers' rights. CAMRA has over 200 branches around the UK, organises events and provides an online database of pubs on its. To find out more about CAMRA,
And today's drinkers aren't just supping beer on its own, they are also enjoying it with a wide range of foods. What better match to a Cheddar ploughman's than a glass of British ale, or a rich, hearty stew with a full-bodied stout or porter?
Cider - Cider is the oldest drink produced in Britain, the first cider presses were mentioned as a source of income in Bath in 1230AD!
In Britain today enthusiasm for cider continues, with two million more cider apple trees being planted since 1995 and sales increasing 14.5% over the past year! Labelled as the 'wine of the west' premium cider has become the drink of choice in beer gardens, at music festivals and at barbeques across the UK. Fruit variants and the re-branding of perry as Pear cider have aided the revival of British cider further. For more information, please visit the National Association of Cider Makers.
Wine - Demand for English wine therefore has soared, as vineyards across the South and Wales are now producing red, white and sparkling wines with a greater professionalism and expertise. With English wine retailing at anything from £8 to more than £30 a bottle, vineyards such as Chapel Down and Camel Valley are taking on those at the very pinnacle of old world wine - the Champagne houses of France.
Defra predicts that the sales of English and Welsh wine predicted to hit almost £100 million in 2015. They report that the number of acres planted with vines across England and Wales has more than doubled in the last decade. Total acres of vineyards now stands at more than 4,500, up from 1,879 in 2004, with 470 vineyards now open for business.
Whisky - Whisky in Great Britain is synonymous with one thing: Scotland. There is evidence of whisky distilling in Scotland dating back to the 6th Century AD. With over 150 different distilleries currently producing whiskey and such a vast heritage, Scotland undoubtedly remains at the forefront of international whisky production. For more information about whisky, visit the Scotch Whisky Association.
Vodka – Vodka production in the UK marks a new trend in British Spirits. With distillers such as 'Chase' of Herefordshire and Adnams producing award winning vodka, British Vodka provides an excellent alternative to its Russian counterparts. Chase's Potato Vodka won the Best Vodka in the World award at the San Francisco world spirit awards whilst Adnam's 'Longshore Premium Vodka' won a silver medal at the same event, both vodkas are produced using 100% British ingredients.
Gin – Gin and tonic is a drink synonymous with the great British summer. Distillers such as Greenall’s, Sipsmiths, SW4, Jensen's and Hendricks are all producing great British Gins. Traditional British Gin distiller Beefeater's, won a gold medal for their import strength Gin at the San Francisco world spirit awards.
Mixers - British mixers are an emerging market in the UK and provide the perfect accompaniment to either British Gin or Vodka. One of the champions of British is Jo Hilditch of Herefordshire, who's 'British Framboise' and 'British Cassis', have achieved national acclaim, winning a 'Great Taste Gold' award. Both the Framboise and the Cassis are produced with Herefordshire raspberries and blackcurrants respectively and are an excellent addition to any cocktail.
Below are some useful resources if you are interested in sourcing wines:
For information on Britain's largest vineyard please click here.
Quality English wines - http://www.ukva.org.uk/
Quality English and Welsh wines - http://www.englishwineproducers.co.uk/
British ale - http://www.camra.org.uk/
British beer and ale - http://siba.co.uk/