AP Photo - Matthew Mead

Saturday is #WorldGinDay and the spirit deserves to be celebrated as it continues to grow in popularity around the world.

People around the world are drinking less beer, fuelling a global dip in alcohol sales.

Russians are drinking less vodka as their economy declines, while the Americans have fallen out of love with cider.

One of the few drinks to see an increase in demand was gin, according to the International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR).

The global market for alcoholic drinks fell 1.3 per cent last year, driven by a 1.8 per cent fall in beer sales.

Several major economies, including China, Russia and Brazil – three of the world's biggest beer markets – have endured a slowdown in beer sales.

Sales of beer fell 4.2 per cent in China, 5.3 per cent in Brazil and 7.8 per cent in Russia. A 4.3 per cent drop in vodka sales was largely driven by a 9.3 per cent fall in Russia.

Pic Karen Sandison

But gin is the exception to the downward trend and the gin industry is booming, with global sales rising 3.7 per cent.

Britons bought the equivalent of 40 million bottles – or 1.1 billion G&Ts – last year.

No one is happier than the British government that the world has a taste for gin.

Once demonised as Mother's Ruin and a threat to society, gin is now putting a smile on the face of the UK Treasury.

The UK Government’s income from duty and VAT on sales of spirits has overtaken that for beer for the first time and it is purely down to the success of gin, with sales up 12 per cent in the past year, according to the Wine and Spirits Trade Association.

The UK Treasury earned an extra R3.7 billion (£225 million) in revenue from spirit drinkers in 2016. Gin has overtaken beer as a the biggest income earner for the British taxman.

Gin has become fashionable with the rise of artisan brands using new flavourings such as herbs and spices. Cheap gin was blamed on many social problems in the mid eighteenth century.