Gin: Keeping it real

22 August, 2018

Curteis retorts: “The craft movement has been much talked about in recent years, but it isn’t anything new, per se. Greenall’s is the original London Dry gin and has been handcrafted the same way since 1761. We still source the best possible botanicals and measure them out by hand. We load the stills by hand and have a team of skilled distillers overseeing every batch we create.”

CONCLUSION

Gladstone says: “It is a good segment to be in. There’s a lot intrinsic to the category that is very much on-trend with consumer desires. For example, there’s a perception that it is a very ‘natural’ product – which it is – versus, perhaps, the perception of flavoured vodkas which are seen as much more ‘chemically made’. Also, perhaps there is a perception that it is a no/low sugar product, versus flavoured vodka/rum.”

Tedeschi says: “The gin industry is certainly booming, a new gin pops up almost daily and 42 new gin distilleries opened in the UK in 2017 alone.” Cannon adds: “Currently there is a danger that too many brands will dilute the performance of longer-term survivors. However, such is life in a competitive market.

“Looking forward, the survivors will be those with healthy balance sheets, winners of awards and those who have good channels of distribution.”

“The ritual of preparation is key now,” says Brotons. “Attention to detail is essential as people are really into how they make their G&T – what the garnish is, the tonic etc.

“This preparation ritual started in Spain and has spread around the world gradually as the consumer looks to recreate the on-premise experienced at home.”

David Hume, creator and director of Quintessential’s Thomas Dakin brand, comments: “Authenticity, provenance and a compelling, genuine story will continue to win through with consumers in the year ahead, but for us at Quintessential Brands, quality comes above all else as, without that, consumers will fast lose interest.

“To have been awarded Gin Distiller of the Year by the ISC again this year – the third time in four years – reinforces that it is this unwavering focus on quality that is helping us to achieve the global success we are now achieving in markets worldwide.”

Roffe states: “Clearly, the category is competing for space in retail stores, on menus and in back bars. Not all producers have the commercial capability to ensure long-term success.

“The evolution of flavoured gins remains a massive opportunity. We must not confuse the consumer by marketing gin liqueurs in the category. ‘Gin’ by definition must be distilled for sale at a minimum abv.”

Hendrick’s Fitzsimons says: “We see the gin category continuing to go from strength to strength, fuelled by experimentalism, innovation, a demand for something a little more daring and adventurous, authenticity and provenance – all the elements that play to the strengths of Hendrick’s.”

SUMMING UP

I leave it to legendary gin maker Desmond Payne, who used to make Plymouth and is now in charge of gin behemoth, Beefeater, to sum up:

“The thing is, gin is designed to be a versatile spirit. That is its role. It is a large part of why gin has become such a dynamic international spirit – it gives this new generation of creative and knowledgeable bartenders something to work with to supply the needs of the new millennial drinkers.

“This provides huge opportunities for both bartenders and the ever-increasing stable of gin producers. It encourages creativity and out-of-the-box thinking like never before. This provides fun, excitement and some surprises too.

“But there are dangers. The plethora of flavoured gins, barrel-aged gins – and I have produced both these styles for Beefeater – and gin liqueurs, none of which is covered by legal definition, is where a lot of this excitement lies. The fact is that definitions cannot keep up with the speed of change. Twenty years ago I was on a trade committee looking to develop a definition for London gin – it took 10 years to enshrine it in European law. Gin is moving faster than that.

“There are just two things that define all styles of gin – the presence of juniper on the taste, and the minimum strength of 37.5 abv. Within these boundaries, I am happy to see a magnificent and challenging array of products. If you want to stray beyond these limits, then you may have produced a great product – but perhaps you should think of a different name for it?” Cheers Desmond.





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Dominic Roskrow

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