Latest figures indicate that there are now over 50 brands of Irish gin on the market here thanks to more than 20 producers.
In the last 12 months alone, 12 new designer gin brands entered the marketing foray according to the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland.
All this makes gin the fastest-growing sector of the drinks industry in Ireland – and pink gin the runaway sub-category within this, with more than 500,000 bottles of pink gin purchased last year.
These notable sales levels reflect gin activity in the UK where new HMRC figures show that combined sales of gin (home and overseas) have broken the £2.5 billion mark.
Domestic gin sales recorded in 2018 in the UK showed that almost 5.5 million cases (66 million bottles) of gin worth over £1.9 billion were sold in 12 months, up 41% in volume on the same period the previous year.
Here in Ireland gin has expanded in volume by over 33% over the past three years to the point where over 150,000 cases are likely to have been sold here last year.
To add to this, the mixers accompanying this massive Irish gin selection have also diversified as never before, growing the potential to create gin-cocktails to meet every occasion.
With an increase of 24% in gin exports last year according to Bord Bia, our gin sales hit €4.2 million for the first nine months of 2018 and are expected to be worth more than €5 million for the year as a whole with Bord Bia stating that, “double-digit growth is recorded in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Italy and Germany and notable growth of 8% is reflected in consumption of Irish gin in Spain. The Irish category is young and is in a position to build its exports at present, but it is hoped to capture some of that growth in 2019–20”.
As part of the Irish Spirits Association Working Group strategy, Irish gin producers said that they’ve the ambition to treble their sales to exceed 400,000 nine-litre cases by 2022 (five million bottles).
With so much gin about, it’s really not surprising the gin is becoming a more fashionable base for cocktails.
Aviation began as a bartender (Ryan Maganan)/distiller (Christian Krogstad) partnership in Portland, Oregan.
Ryan had an interest in classic, pre-Prohibition cocktails and equally passionate about his craft, Christian founded a craft distillery in Portland. Christian set out to recreate a uniquely American Gin but American gins disappeared with Prohibition so no one knew exactly what they tasted like.
Ryan and Christian finally landed on a democratic blend of seven botanicals (Cardamom, Coriander, French Lavender, Anise, Sarsaparilla, Juniper and Orange peel) with juniper in the background.
The distillation process is vital to the Aviation flavour and mouth-feel.
An 18-hour maceration imparts a lot of the flavour before distillation. Only the ‘heart-cut’ of the distillate is used. The result is a smooth, balanced American Gin that really lingers on the palate.
In 2018 Aviation was purchased by Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds because it made the best Negroni he had ever tasted.
Ryan now spends his time between movies, travelling the world talking about what he calls “The best damn gin on the planet”
40ml Aviation American Gin
1 tsp Crème De Violette
15ml Maraschino Liqueur
20ml freshly-pressed Lemon Juice
10ml Simple Syrup
Aviation Gin is imported exclusively in Ireland by MCM Brands.
Introducing Bosford Rose, a gluten-free premium pink gin distilled with the same botanicals used in the original London Dry Gin recipe which was created in 1948 and long popular across Europe.
It is then blended with natural Strawberry and Raspberry flavours that give a light sweetness to soften the sometimes bitter taste gin is known for, making it appealing to both loyal and non-gin drinkers alike.
35.5ml Bosford Rose mixed with white lemonade. Build in a balloon glass over ice with a Lemon wedge. Garnish with Strawberry and Raspberry.
James Joyce Gin
James Joyce Gin is a multi-award winning small-batch Irish gin celebrating world-famous Irish author James Joyce.
This premium gin honours in particular his most notable works, the iconic Ulysses and short story The Dead.
The gin is naturally sweet on the nose with hints of Bay Leaf, Heather and Orange rounded-off with an incredibly smooth finish, with hints of Clove.
These botanicals draw inspiration from the dinner menu from The Dead and the blue box, typography and cotton label pay tribute to the iconic dust-cover of the first edition of Ulysses in 1922.
The clear bottle harks back to apothecary-style bottles of the mid-1800s as seen in Sweny’s Pharmacy, the Dublin chemist featured in Ulysses and restored by the founders of The James Joyce Spirits Company.
Recently awarded Gold in the UK Gin Masters 2018, JJ Gin was also voted No 3 Best Irish Gin by Lovin’ Dublin and has several accolades for outstanding design and packaging.
JJ Gin pairs perfectly with premium Irish tonic water and a slice of fresh Orange and is currently available wholesale from Mitchell & Son and the Celtic Whiskey Shop, with nationwide online delivery.
Jawbox White Negroni
40ml Jawbox Small Batch Gin
20ml Suze Herbal Liqueur
20ml clear sweet Vermouth
Method: Add ice to a mixing glass and stir in the ingredients. Strain into a rocks glass over ice and garnish with a twist of Blood Orange peel
35ml Jawbox Small Batch Gin
35ml Antica Formula or sweet Vermouth
Method: add the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and garnish with Orange peel.
Drinks distributor Barry & Fitzwilliam has secured the Irish distribution rights for Kinsale Gin, the first offering from the Kinsale Spirit Company.
The company is a collaboration between three Cork publicans: Tom O’Riordan, Colin Ross and Ernest Cantillon.
After noticing the growing demand for gin from their customers in the bars, they decided to develop their own. Tom has lived in Kinsale for years and felt the area had the perfect ingredients for a successful product – a world class reputation for food, drink and hospitality and a wealth of interesting and unique botanicals.
After a year in development, the gin was launched two years ago and has grown in popularity in both the on- and off-trade.
Interest from importers in other markets is keen. They have other products in development too.
Kinsale Gin is a London Dry Gin, made in small batches, combining locally-foraged and internationally-sourced botanicals. The taste is refreshing and unique and has proved a hit with both gin connoisseurs and casual imbibers.
The gin was awarded best Irish London Dry Gin in the World Gin Awards and went on to finish in the world top 10.
- Kinsale Gin – 50ml
- Lemon juice – 25ml
- Sugar syrup – 25ml
- Splash of bubbles
Method: Mix Kinsale Gin, Lemon juice and Sugar syrup together in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into chilled flute, top with bubbles, garnish with a Lemon peel and a sugar cube.
2019 is already shaping up to be Blackwater Distillery’s busiest year on record yet.
Launched by Peter Mulryan and Kieran Curtain in 2014, the innovative distillery has already received International acclaim for their flagship Blackwater No5 Gin which won Gold at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2017.
That was followed up with two more releases in Wexford Strawberry gin which nearly doubled in sales last year and Ireland’s first-ever barrel-aged gin Blackwater Juniper Cask.
The secret to their success – as Peter likes to put it – “is making small batch gin the old-fashioned way with 100% Irish spirit, real botanicals and lots of care and attention”.
Innovation has been a key ingredient in this growth with the last release Blackwater Barrys Tea Gin grabbing the imagination of both gin lovers and tea lovers alike in Ireland.
Alongside these timely releases, the distillery has continued to expand. In May this year, the doors will open to the public for the brand new distillery in Ballyduff, West Waterford. It is here that visitors will not only get up close and personal with one Ireland’s most-awarded gins but will also see the team at the distillery working on their latest project, Irish whiskey – exciting and busy times ahead indeed.
45ml Blackwater No5
45ml fresh Orange juice
30ml Aperol Italian aperitif
10ml Galliano Vanilla liqueur
25ml pasteurised egg white
Method: Pour all the ingredients into a shaker; give first a dry shake and afterwards fill up with ice and shake vigorously, double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with edible flowers.