Gin: Keeping it real

22 August, 2018

Malfy is claimed to be the bestselling gin in Italy, as well as the fastest-growing premium gin in the US. Founder and owner of Biggar & Leith, owner of Malfy, Elwyn Gladstone, says: “The category has obviously boomed in Europe, but is still to take off in the US, Canada, Africa and Asia. In the US, the category is growing very fast in the super-premium sector ($25 per 75cl and above), driven by Hendrick’s, Bombay Sapphire and a sea of ‘craft gins’. The US is quite a long way behind on the G&T craze that has driven the category around the world – eg there is no significant on-premise premium tonic distribution. Fever-Tree and Q are leading the charge, but there is a long way to go, and there is no ‘ritual’ of using the copa glasses like we see in Spain and the UK. There’s definitely a lot of runway, and we think it will start to happen over the next 18-24 months. In Asia, we are seeing a growing interest in gin but still on a very small base,” says Gladstone.

Gonzalez Byass owns the London No.1 and Mom brands. Global marketing director Eugeni Brotons says: “The gin sector is still being driven by premiumisation. According to the latest IWSR stats, over the next five years growth will slow globally but the key markets for increased consumption will be the US, UK, Spain and Germany. However, markets such as Mexico, Brazil, Austria and South Africa have had significant growth in the past year.

“The Philippines is the most important global consumer market for the gin category, (17.5m 9-litre cases) together with the US (10m 9-litre cases). The US remains the largest gin importer for the UK with sales worth £184m (US$255m), an increase of almost £12m (US $ 16.6m) from 2016.”

Quintessential Brands’ international marketing director for Greenall’s gin, Rob Curteis, says: “Gin is in rude health and, while there is inevitably some talk of the gin craze slowing eventually, it is clear to us at Quintessential that some markets are only just getting going.”

He says: “Such innovation is exciting and needed to maintain the category’s relevance, but brand marketers need to make sure that they don’t go down the same route as vodka did in the past with flavours and that they stay true to their brands and the essence of gin.

“The gin category is becoming increasingly fragmented, with a lot of new sub-categories emerging, the biggest of which is pink gin, which has driven 27% of total gin growth. A similar trend can be seen within gin liqueurs, and these sub categories have a strong appeal to people who are new to gin and find the sweeter profile of these gin liqueurs more accessible, and for those looking for something different as they explore the category,” says Curteis.

Halewood Wines & Spirits managing director, global travel retail, Simon Roffe, says: “Clearly, the UK market is one of the most dynamic for gin but the category performance is reflected across many international markets. The pace at which the consumer taste buds in various countries are switching to the juniper craze definitely varies – as does the development of the different elements of the gin category.”


Hayman’s has a new London distillery in Balham, the company thus returning to London where famous forebear James Burroughs, of Beefeater, started nearby. A traditional, medium-sized producer, James Hayman is concerned that the current popularity of gin with the blurring of the boundaries and exotic flavours may damage the category in the longer term.

At the recent Imbibe bartender show, Hayman had placards stating: “Call time on fake gin.” He tells DI: “The renaissance of gin could damage the category. It does not need gimmickry. The renaissance has to be true to the style. The ‘new wave’ gins can cause great confusion. It is dangerous if we confuse people.”

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


Tess Posthumus

Staffing crisis could open opportunities

The pandemic has thrown many challenges at bar owners over the past couple of years and the ones that survived the various lockdowns and restrictions deserve a pat on the back. However, while revenues are returning and bars are beginning to recruit once more, we’ve come up against a whole new set of problems, one of which is a global starring crisis.