11 June 2021, 08:34 AM
  • Celebrate World Gin Day by refreshing your offering to accommodate the latest trends

Although gin has been widely available in England since the 17th century, Britain’s love affair with the spirit is showing no signs of slowing down.

In fact, the taste for gin is growing around the world, with IWSR Drinks Market Analysis predicting a growth rate of 4.5% per year over the next four years. It appears consumers are after quantity and quality, with brands priced at premium-and-above levels noted to be growing particularly quickly, with a rate of 11.4% per year forecast for 2021-2025.

For fine food retailers this means one thing: choosing your gin selection is of the utmost importance, and discovering the trends that cut through the noise is key. Here, Speciality Food has outlined six tips to help retailers sell gin today.

Locally made

As farm shops and delis know, when it comes to fine food – whether artisan cheese, handmade chutney or indeed a bottle of gin – local sells. And today, it’s easier than ever for retailers to find a product that’s been made close to home.

In England, the number of distilleries has boomed since 2016, having almost tripled, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA). Currently, England’s distillery numbers stand at 311, having topped 300 for the first time in 2020, while Scotland increased its numbers to 214. Wales and Northern Ireland’s distillery ranks also rose, with the total across the UK reaching more than 560.

Lockdown didn’t deter this growth, with the number of registered distilleries growing by more than 100 in 2020, the WSTA said.

Home cocktails

Another trend that was not stopped by the pandemic – in fact, quite the opposite – was the homemade cocktail trend. Craft Gin Club’s Big Gin Report 2020 found that more than half of Brits were becoming confident in their cocktail making during lockdown, with 65% reporting they had spent time improving their cocktail making skills.

And just because lockdown is easing doesn’t mean this trend is over – in fact, 90% of Brits said they planned to make more cocktails at home in 2021. Ride the wave by stocking all of the ingredients needed to make the nation’s favourite gin-based cocktails, from the classic G&T to a Gin Fizz, Gimlet or Negroni.

Older vs younger

Craft Gin Club’s report also reveals that gin suits a variety of tastes – and ages – meaning retailers can cash in no matter their customer demographic.

Gin was named the favourite drink of the majority of under-25s surveyed in the Big Gin Report 2020, with younger drinkers favouring experimental flavours, such as those infused with CBD.

However, it noted that those who have retired are the biggest gin drinkers, with 21% of over-70s having a gin daily, and 56% having one two to three times a week. Cheers to that.

No and low alcohol

Gen Z is driving the alcohol-free craze, and gin is one of the simpler flavours to replicate in non-alcoholic drinks, making it a firm favourite for many.

From Seedlip’s ground-breaking distilled botanical drinks to products like LUXLO, which have been tailor-made for gin lovers looking to cut their alcohol and sugar intake with a lower ABV and lower calorie spirit – today there is truly something for everyone.

Sensory experience

Another avenue that many gin makers are exploring today is creating more complex flavours that result in a stronger sensory experience for customers.

Three Seasons by Cambridge Distillery, aims to take drinkers on a journey through the seasons with its carefully tailored tasting notes. Meanwhile, The Botanist has launched a limited edition gin which claims to be one of the oldest aged gins on the market. The product has been maturing in Bruichladdich Distillery’s warehouse on Islay since 2011.

Far from the ordinary, products like these promise an experience in their own right.

New formats

Much like gin’s own renaissance over the last half-decade, canned cocktails have had a jolt of new life thanks to new brands reimagining the concept. Last year, the WSTA said Brits spent a whopping £412m on beverages from the ready-to-drink (RTD) category, up nearly a quarter on the previous year.

RTDs sit at the convergence of a number of trends, from convenience to sustainability to lower alcohol and sugar levels. This summer, they’re predicted to be huge, but they’re not the only new format. Brands like Boxtails and NIO Cocktails have also perfected the art of pre-made cocktails which can be delivered through a post box, proving that innovation across the sector is alive and well.

By considering these trends when refreshing their drinks selections, retailers will be a cut above the ordinary.

For more tips on refreshing your summer drinks selection, click here.