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Originally known as ‘mother’s ruin’, gin has been widely available in England since the 17th century. But it was only in the past 10 years that gin really began to boom, and Britain’s love affair with the spirit is showing no signs of slowing down.
“Gin is still a must-stock after all these years – it has almost become something of a staple!” Andy Seach, sales manager at Otterbeck Distillery, told Speciality Food. “Consumers are more educated than ever, much more aware of what constitutes a genuine craft gin and constantly seeking out new and exciting brands, which is why small-batch distilling is still so on-trend.”
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. Moreover, 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.
According to Statistica, in 2022, global sales volumes of gin are expected to grow by 8%, with experts estimating that by 2025 934.7 million litres will be sold. Therefore, choosing your gin selection carefully to reflect what consumers want is of the utmost importance in 2022 to stock up and cash in.
As indies 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.
According to Sam Evans, brand ambassador at Shakespeare Distillery, an artisan spirit distillery nestled in the heart of Stratford Upon Avon, the growth of the gin market has been massively influenced by the increase in the number of UK gin distilleries. He explained, “There are now 820 UK gin distillers compared to 190 in 2015 – the year Shakespeare Distillery was founded.
“That growth and saturation in the market puts pressure on distilleries to make something which is truly unique and authentic to the area they are in. This is something we take great pride in at Shakespeare Distillery, by using Tudor-inspired ingredients to produce our award-winning spirits.”
The demand for local, British produce was certainly enhanced by the Covid-19 pandemic as community spirit took over. “Coming out of the lockdowns there has been a growing demand from consumers to buy and support local products”, Sam added.
“Retailers can therefore meet growing customer demand by stocking gin from their local producers. It is also important that independent retailers take time to learn about their local brands and reach out to them for marketing support.”
Flavour and range
With summer so close we can taste it this World Gin Day, offering fruity, refreshing flavours will help to set the tone.
Jess Slater, co-founder of Whitby Gin, noted that “Elderflower and citrus are popular flavours at the moment which is maybe something to do with the summer sunshine.”
But she also added that “The ‘pink gin’ boom has been and gone leaving behind a greater number of gin drinkers. Innovative and unexpected flavours are becoming less enticing, with more people seeking localised flavour profiles and authentic products. The industry appears to have a more distinct split between super-premium and lower-cost mass-produced brands.”
The general rule is to ensure you are stocking a wide range of gins that cater to every consumer’s preferred flavour profile, as Gary Watt, co-owner of The Orkney Gin Company, recommends, “Ensure you have a variety of fruity, juniper-led, herbal, spiced, floral and citrusy gins. It’s always nice to get in some seasonal ones too, even if you’re only ordering a few of each to gauge how they will sell. Most small producers are very happy to send small quantities of say 6-12 units, which is very handy for cash flow.”
Sam added, “Retailers can meet consumer demand by stocking a variety of local craft spirits to appeal to a wider audience. That greater range will show the different production techniques and the difference that can make in flavour.”
But it’s not just about the gins themselves, as Lorcan O’Duffy, global brand manager at Brockman’s, explains, “Knowing what flavour profiles stand out when mixed with Soda, Tonic or Ginger can help the consumer find a gin that suits their needs.
“Let the liquids do the talking and base your suggestions on cuisines, flavours or words that make sense to them. If they love bright, vibrant and refreshing dishes push them towards a gin (and a serve) that resonates with this.”
Engaging with your customers
Once you’ve perfected your offering, it is important to communicate with your customers in order to effectively sell it.
There’s no point stocking interesting flavour combinations or brands with a strong story if you aren’t going to discuss them to engage people coming through the door.
One way of doing this is providing tasters of any new or interesting gins you have in stock. As Sam explained, “Having tasters available for the customers to try gives them the opportunity to decide which style of gin they enjoy the most before buying.”
Lorcan added, “Understand the consumer favourites, but also introduce them to new options with bundled packs or have samples available to trial.”
By considering these tips when stocking and selling gin, retailers will be a cut above the ordinary in 2022.