Saturation point?

02 June, 2016

She holds regular meet-the-maker sessions and adds “for now the excitement lies more with the real small-batch distillers and the more experimental gins, meeting the people who make the gin, like Mark Marmont at 58”. To make space the bar has now gone as far as delisting some more mainstream brands and has worked with the Gin Foundry team to create its own Oliver Conquest gin.

Davis sees no sign of a peak. “I don’t think we have quite hit the top of the wave yet,” she says. “I’m sure that as long as a gin has a true identity and a point of difference, a story and a heart, it will survive the saturation. There are still a hell of a lot of people that are still discovering they like it.”

Personally, I see no sign of gin peaking any time soon. Travelling round the UK, meeting consumers, tasting different gins and the new wave of premium tonics and presenting my 101 Gins book I’ve encountered a huge thirst for knowledge – a willingness to experiment and embrace the new and a feeling that this is gin’s moment. The wave of new products continues to excite and interest the consumer. Of course there will be casualties and some brands won’t make it. Some established brands will need to raise their game to meet the craft challenge.

While selling the second and subsequent bottle in a market that’s increasingly driven by experimentation and novelty won’t be easy for newcomers, sustained, well-differentiated marketing will be essential for long-term survival. But I’m full of hope and optimism.

As Alex Nicol concludes: “It’s a time of innovation and experimentation and barriers are coming down.”

And now, if you will excuse me, my email is filling up. Ping! Ping! Ping!

The gin craze has clearly got some way to go yet.

Ian Buxton's book is available from Birlinn: birlinn.co.uk





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