In Britain we bought a record 40 million bottles of gin in 2016, with sales in pubs, bars and restaurants growing by almost a fifth, more than any other spirit. Supermarket sales are also up by more than 13%. However, the trend isn’t just limited to the UK, with British gin now exported to 139 countries worldwide. Predictions state that the popularity is here to stay with UK sales set to climb to £1.37 billion by 2020.
At SPL we’re in the unique position of supplying, and gaining insight from, both the grass roots home gin makers, as well as some of the world’s largest producers. Here’s our take on five upcoming trends for the gin industry:
1. Sipping Gins
The Gin Foundry’s annual gin survey shows that the number of people preferring 1-part gin to 1-part tonic has risen by 12% in just two years. We’re predicting this to grow, as tasting and comparing the unique flavour profiles of the many gins now available are something connoisseurs are looking for. With the rise of heavily flavoured, smoother spirits designed to be sipped neat or over ice, this will move gin further into a premium spirit positioning.
2. Less Juniper More….
Whilst juniper has always been the mainstay flavour in gin, more experimental, unusual flavours are coming to the fore and taking the leading role. With iterations including seaweed gin, sake infused gin and nettle gin, producers are seeking ever more unusual and unique flavour combinations to differentiate themselves from increasing competition.
3. Botanical Garnishes
Gone are the days of ice and a slice with your gin and tonic. Bartenders will now garnish the traditional balloon glasses specific to the flavour profile of the accompanying gin. Increasingly this is going beyond a simple fruit addition to include botanical elements such as juniper berries, caraway and coriander seeds and angelica. All are designed to enhance the drinking experience and add additional flavour and aroma elements at the point of serve.
4. Hyper Localisation
Despite many believing that the UK market is now saturated with producers, we disagree and believe that the next few years will see smaller scale producers set up solely to supply their local towns and cities. Majestic Wines notes that all of their UK stores stock at least one gin produced within 30 miles of its location, and that these are outselling nationally available gins; as consumer preference moves to drinking locally derived products, this becomes an increasingly viable business model.
5. Fermentation Over GNS
In the UK it’s estimated that 95% of gin producers are using a common GNS (Grain Neutral Spirit) as the base for their gin, then compounding this with their own botanicals and flavouring elements to differentiate. As consumers’ search for product authenticity intensifies, those who can own more of the process, from grain to glass, are likely to prove popular. Controlling the fermentation involves choosing all raw materials including fermentables and yeast, and will provide not only flavour differentiating factors but a legitimate process change to the bulk of producers.
At SPL we have been developing several product lines, including yeast, botanicals, fermentables and additional flavouring elements, for both the homebrew and commercial gin markets, to cater to this growing industry. If you’d like to discuss the opportunities and learn more about the products we could provide, then please get in touch.