The Gin Kings might accurately describe this list of brands, but actually it is the name of a Philippine basketball team. Emblazoned across their vests is their full name: Barangay Ginebra San Miguel – this is one
of the most successful teams in the Philippine Basketball league and it is owned by the world’s largest gin producer. If we ever wondered how this gin grew to 20.4m cases (up 7% this year) this might offer a reason why. This commercial collaboration is the Philippine equivalent of Manchester Gordon’s Gin.
In the past year, San Miguel has taken its gin to the people, touring Manila with its mobile cocktail bar. Offering its full range of gins – Ginebra San Miguel, GSM Blue, GSM Blue Flavours and Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin – accompanied by a jamboree of music, entertainment, raffle prizes and subsidised Gin Kings caps and shirts, this is marketing, Philippine style.
Outside of the Philippines, gin brands are slightly less flamboyant, though this remains their time in the sun. Gordon’s, up 22%, seems to be finally cashing in on the gin trend that has swept Europe and the US. Diageo reports good growth for Gordon’s and premium stablemate Tanqueray in southern Europe, while Gordon’s is making headway in Angola, of all places, following route- to-consumer investments and a new distributor.
Bacardi also made moves in the gin category last year, adding the super-premium expression Star of Bombay to the Bombay family that already includes Bombay Sapphire, Bombay London Dry and Bombay East. Now firmly ensconced at its Laverstoke Mill Distillery in Hampshire, UK, Bombay seems well placed to capitalise on the ever-expanding gin trend and has the capacity to exceed its 2015 growth of 10%.
Gazing down the list we see that Beefeater has climbed above its stablemate Seagram’s which, though a popular mainstream success in the US, seems to be struggling to find traction in a golden era of gin. Beefeater’s healthy 4% rise is respectable for a brand that has grown steadily over the past 10 years.
Tanqueary, another brand popular in both the on and off-trade, particularly with bartenders, might feel disappointed it has failed to grow during a buoyant year for gin.
Euromonitor International’s Jeremy Cunnington gives us his take on gin’s performance in 2015: “The gin category continues to go from strength to strength with global volumes up 2%. This is reflected by the performance of all the major brands, with most of the growth coming from English gin brands. All brands are benefitting from gin’s broadening geographic appeal away from core markets to central and Northern Europe.”