Gin: Keeping it real

22 August, 2018

NEW GINS ON THE BLOCK SO FAR

  • Tanqueray Flor De Sevilla
  • Bloom Gin Jasmine & Rose
  • Opihr Stubbies, a trio of TD G&Ts
  • Blackwater Irish
  • Portobello Road Navy Strength
  • Caorunn Gin Master’s Cut
  • Gibson’s So Jean
  • Hendrick’s Orbium
  • Mór Irish gin
  • Malfy Gin Rosa
  • Copperhouse
  • Jaisalmer Indian gin
  • Gin L’Arbre Mediterranean London Dry
  • Hernö Old Tom
  • O’ndina Italian
  • Hapusa Himalayan Dry
  • Berry Bros & Rudd London Dry
  • Not forgetting gin liqueurs now, such as Jawbox Pineapple & Ginger and Rhubarb & Ginger gin liqueurs

THE LEGAL DIMENSION

Cook, a former lawyer, says: “The crowded market means that brands both new and old are seeking new consumers and routes to market, often by deploying products of a style and profile not seen before, some while still maintaining linkage with the legal gin specifications, some, however, venturing to the edge, and some far beyond.”

Cook says some brands are taking fairly extreme positions, very much at the edge of the spectrum. This is leading to a position where consumers, who after all are not experts, need protection from rogue marketing and abuse of the name ‘gin’ as part of the labelling.

He says the established industry needs steps to be taken to preserve the prestige and particular style of the legally specified gin definitions laid down by EU regulations.

The likes of the Gin Guild and WSTA have the whole gin arena under review and there is already a groundswell of industry opinion that action needs to be taken to ensure that the flexible regulations that have allowed so much innovation and development are not abused.

Cook expresses his concern: “At the moment a lack of co-ordinated enforcement action, alongside what has been extraordinary expansion in gin and of gin-based/influenced products, has meant there are some products which fail to meet the legal specifications which are nonetheless being sold and misrepresented to consumers as gin.

“Hopefully, if there are one or two enforcement actions and clarification and a formal restatement approved by key and established industry players of what is required in a product to ensure compliance, there will be a settling down within the market and brands will work towards either rolling back products so as to ensure compliance or will effectively relabel and redescribe products so that they do not inadvertently fall within what is a tightly defined set of regulations,” states Cook.

Out in England’s south west, Somerset’s Newton House director Jane Cannon rejoins: “We are seeing more people and small wine shops using contract distillers to create their ‘own-brand’ gins. The label should clearly state where the product has been produced. So many gins are produced by large contract distillers which are then bottled and labelled to imply small batch production. This is misleading to the public and demonstrates how the once-competitive advantage of being an artisan, genuine producer, can be eroded by false labelling and provenance.”

Diageo’s head of Gordon’s Europe, Annalisa Tedeschi adds: “When it comes to gin, people across the industry have started talking about the over-complication of the industry and calling for classification. We do believe there is a role to play to educate people that juniper is the key ingredient of gin, giving it that refreshing, crisp taste. Alongside juniper, Gordon’s liquid has just three other botanicals – angelica root, coriander and liquorice.”

William Grant & Sons’ Hendrick’s claims to be the first ‘super-premium’ gin brand to reach the one million case mark. Hendrick’s global marketing manager Lisa Fitzsimons says: “This is a golden age for gin and it shows no sign of slowing down, with an abundance of new gins coming to the market all the time, many playing on local provenance, with interesting stories to tell.”





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Dominic Roskrow

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