Gin gardens, not beer gardens!

You know there’s a gin renaissance when a summer beer gardens throughout the UK are filled not with pints but G&Ts. Gin is now enjoyed by people of all ages and genders – no one in the industry saw it coming and its rise is seemingly unstoppable.

The proliferation of new brands has been astonishing – and every few days there is word of a new brand launching. The pace was thought not to be sustainable, but consumers are showing no signs of fatigue and the trade continues to represent the new launches and delight in the flavour innovation. The category is bold and organically differentiates, those that don’t are quickly left behind.

Wholesalers are taking full advantage of the demand and their selections have increased four fold in the last 2 years. They are also quite savvy and being industry gate keepers they naturally try to sound out new comers. Some are equally struggling to keep up, space is a premium and they have never experienced a category with such rich supply.

Equally wholesalers have never seen such a boom in the online presence and this is where new distillers are selling direct to thirsty consumers and bypass the volume wholesale channel, to make the fast emerging craft distilling business one that is viable and sustainable without queuing up to join forces with the big boys.

There is no sign of “ peak gin “ yet and the number of gins that bars will carry on their back bar continues to grow, while the consumers find the appeal of gin is just irresistible and that’s what is making gin mainstream.Consumers are only just starting to learn about the innovative variants as they happen upon them on shelves of specialist shops or online and they are snapping them up fast.

The on-trade makes almost no attempt to develop brand recognition and so gin drinkers in pubs are still largely indifferent to what they drink, ordering what the bartender recommends or, as is normal, just ask for a G&T. These pubs are now offering a house gin and a few premium up sells, but they are missing out on the huge potential for up selling premium gins to every customer and this is where significant growth potential.

Gin drinkers are seeking out and learning about new brands themselves online. New gins are sold on botanical or regional heritage, the burgeoning number of Welsh Gin distillers now totals over 25, creating exciting distillations with regional botanicals and great origin stories that excite the customers, like the Snowdonia Spirits Company that offers 3 quite different premium gins celebrating Welsh tradition. The Welsh tea Loaf Bara Brith is now created as very sophisticated Bara Brith gin with flavours of fried fruit, spices and tea and in honour of the Welsh Love Spoon, a pink gin made with wild fruit and berries.

With so many brands, different flavour profiles and serves the customer is just relishing the choice and the gin premiumization, something that has been missing from the category for decades.Thanks to the internet the world of gin now has a global audience and ‘ Brand Gin “ is very much ‘ Brand Britain ‘, a true drinks industry success story that so far has a happy ending ! Cheers!

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