Making Gin Fizz
This summer the incredible gin revival was predicted to hit its highest note by knocking vodka off its pedestal as the UK’s number one selling spirit. In 2019, gin sales overtook whisky and liqueurs with over 82 million* bottles sold in the on and off trade.
The global gin bubble – pink, flavoured, shaken or stirred – is not expected to burst any time soon. Wines & Spirits Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale said: “It’s been another phenomenal 12 months for gin and, despite recent reports suggesting the gin bubble may have burst, our numbers suggest the exact opposite- not only is gin’s popularity here to stay, it’s now worth over £3bn annually (including exports).” Here are Take Stock’s tips and tipples for maximising gin sales once trade returns to normal, and in the meantime why not celebrate World Gin Day (13 June) by sharing this gin expertise, and recipes with your customers via social media.
According to CGA, 250 new gin brands have been launched in the past five years and to keep up, operators have at least doubled the number of gins they stock. There are indications that customers find this just too confusing. So be selective about the number of brands you stock; provide your customers with a range of prices and flavour profiles, and a combination of well-known brands – for reassurance – and authentic artisan gins for excitement and discovery. A smaller selection also gives staff a chance to learn more about the products too – and frees up bar space. Top five brands in 2019 – Gordon’s Pink, Gordon’s Special LondonDry, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Beefeater.
Go super premium
The majority of new gins on the market have positioned themselves as premium and artisan, which has had an effect on customers starting to look for real difference and provenances when it comes to paying extra. Enter the super premiums, offering an authentic quality, taste and experience that is worth paying that bit extra. However, choose your super premiums carefully. Like a single malt whisky, these smoother, heavier super premium gins are now being bought to drink neat or with ice or soda – so making it all about the taste. Brands to consider for your super premium collection – Malfy, Givinity, Aviation, Hendrick’s and Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve.
In the pink
Since Gordon’s Pink Gin became the number one gin brand in the UK by volume in 2019 – up 185% over 2018** – and pushed its sister brand Gordon’s Dry London Gin into second place, pink gin has won a special place on every self-respecting drinks menu. This is certainly no lightweight. Last year double the number of Brits drank pink gin during 2019 – that’s over 5.5 million people. It is the perfect summer tipple.
Rotate unusual flavours
Flavoured gin is the fastest growing sector and the choice is spiralling with unusual flavours set to become even more popular over the next year or two. Fruity berries and floral are the most popular but more unusual flavours such as Christmas Pudding and Palma Violet are out there too. You can’t stock them all so rotate and consider having a ‘flavoured gin of the week’ menu and create your own best sellers list. Bombay Sapphire launched Bombay Bramble in March – a fresh natural mix of blackberry, raspberry-infused gin.
Gin’s success is global and overseas brands are increasing in number and popularity too. With travel on hold, this trend is set to grow – and stocking a few or having them as a gin of the month/week is a good way to keep things exciting for customers. Look out forJapanese gins with unusual flavour such as cherry blossom or yuzu fruit and high-quality, spiced Indian gins.
Partner local distilleries
With customers looking for authenticity and taste in artisan gins, partner locally where you can and share the provenance. Gin tourism is a growing trend too with more distilleries opening up to the public. As partners, you can co-promote each other’s business to offer authentic experiences that can be enjoyed year round – once the lockdown is over. With craft distilleries offering lots of different flavour profiles and processes, it is a great visit for gin lovers and you can offer a complete experience with lunch, dinner and accommodation to follow. Don’t let the proximity or the experience overshadow the quality of the gin though – selecting the best gin should be the priority for your business.
The classic gin profiles – such as LondonDry – are also having a resurgence as the new distilleries start to refine their products and opt for traditional flavours rather than unusual ones. With this trend is a revival of classic gin cocktails such as the Tom Collins, Gimlets, French 75 and the retro Gin Fizz – in a highball glass, of course – and original mixers, soda and plain tonic water.
Sources: *Wine and Spirits Trade Association Year-end Report, ** CGA In the Pink July 2019 Report