Britons' Drinking Habits Are Ginning Up the Inflation Data

The spirit is now so popular that statisticians are including it in living-cost calculations.

There's now a G&T in CPI.

Sales of the spirit have almost almost doubled since 2009, according to the Office for National Statistics, which has added it to the list of goods it monitors to track living costs for the first time in 13 years. Mixer drinks were already included in the consumer prices index.

Once decried as “Mother's Ruin,” the drink was immortalized in Hogarth's 1751 print Gin Lane, depicting drunken Londoners — including a woman letting her child fall to its death. But it more recently had a more mundane association with the suburban tastes, and fallen out of favor with younger buyers.

The current resurgence is partly thanks to “significant growth” in the number of small gin producers, such as West London's Sipsmith, the Scottish island of Islay's Botanist and Hampshire's Twisted Nose, according to the statisticians.

It’s not just gin that's clawing back a bad reputation among British drinkers. The ONS also broadened its cider category, continuing an image shift that has made it “more gentrified and popular among different sections of the population.” That basket now includes other flavor versions that have grown in popularity.

The ONS does an annual review of all the goods and services in its inflation basket  – about 700 – to more accurately reflect the costs faced by households. This year 11 items were dropped, including basic mobile phones, while 16 were added, including children’s scooters and non-dairy milk. Last year, nightclub entry fees were bounced out, while 2015 saw craft beer, music-streaming subscriptions such as Spotify Ltd. and e-cigarettes join the list. 

(This story was corrected to show vertical axis value in the chart as millions of pounds)
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