Gin and Tonic / Creative Commons

The price of the juniper-flavoured spirit will now be used to calculate inflation

British people are drinking so much gin that the official statistics body has begun including the spirit in a typical “basket of a goods” that it uses to calculate inflation.

The spirit, long considered unfashionable and the preserve of the elderly, has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years with the growth of independent gin distilleries.

The Office for National Statistics, which has not included the price of gin in inflation calculations for 13 years, says it is now reintroducing it this year in light of increased expenditure on the juniper-flavoured tipple.

The ONS reviews which goods and services it counts towards its inflation calculations once a year in order to reflect changing consumer spending patterns.

Other additions to the standard basket in 2017 include chocolate biscuits, cough syrup, and bicycle helmets. 

Explaining the change, the organisation said: “In addition to introducing items to represent distinct sectors or markets, a number of items have been introduced to diversify the range of products collected for established groupings, usually where spending is significant. 

“For example, gin has been added as expenditure has risen following a reported increase in the number of small distilleries over recent years. 

“Its inclusion will help interpretation of the spirits section of the baskets where there is a high degree of price volatility due to periodic discounting."

The ONS says that the value of gin sold by manufacturers in the UK has almost doubled from £126 million in 2009 to £239 million in 2015.

Previous additions to the inflation basket in 2016 included pouches of microwavable rice, lemons coffee pods, and computer game downloads.