Gin market’s push to premium

Lockdown has done no harm to off-trade sales of gin, no harm at all. Sales were up 35% in the year to May the 21st, to €71.7 million from the previous year's sales figure of €53.2 million at a time when most on-trade outlets were closed. The thrust now is to up the margin with a push to premium for the brands involved. We look at the gin market.

World Gin Day this year was Saturday the 12th of June and global gin sales are forecast to increase by a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 4.5% between now and 2025, driven notably by Brazil, South Africa and Russia, according to Drinks Market Analysts IWSR but also driven by brands priced premium-and-above (with this segment projected to grow 11.4% CAGR 2021-2025).

The UK witnessed record-breaking retail sales of gin over the last 12 months, with flavoured gin worth 40% of all gin sales there.

Latest figures released by the UK’s Wine & Spirits Trade Association show that sales of gin in UK shops, supermarkets and online equated to 6.7 million cases worth £1.3 billion, up 30% in just one year.

But sales of flavoured gin broke the £500 million barrier there for the first time, up 37%, with around 2.5 million cases sold – around 40% of the total gin market by both volume and value, with the WSTA predicting that this market share will increase.

Total sales over the last 12 months (to the 27th of March 2021) were worth just north of £2 billion despite on-trade venues being closed there for much of the year and operating under onerous restrictions when they were allowed to trade.


Gin in Ireland

Before the advent of Covid-19, gin sales were nothing short of flying.

According to the latest annual report from Drinks Ireland|Spirits gin sold 338,500 cases here in 2019, indicating a sales increase of 4.6% on 2018’s 323,650-case figure. This puts gin’s share of the spirits market at 14.4% in ‘19, slightly up on 2018.

The following year saw the country in Lockdown.

But Lockdown hasn’t been unkind to gin sales – quite the opposite in fact. There’s little doubt that gin’s popularity would only have increased in 2020, with or without incarceration. Some estimates have put the growth in gin sales at near 50% for 2020.

Figures from NielsenIQ indicate that off-trade gin sales were up 35% to €71.7 million in the year to the 23rd of May 2021 while they were up 25% to €23.95 million this year alone to the 23rd of May. The eight weeks to that particular date saw gin sales up 2% to €10.4 million.


Vary the gin range

Certainly the publican wanting to maximise sales should think about displaying his gin range more prominently than was once the case.

With so many additions to this market at the present time one should be prepared to vary the range depending on trends and changing tastes in what’s still an evolving category, perhaps best characterised by a lack of brand loyalty as new introductions tempt gin consumers from settling down with one particular brand.

Your gin range can also be optimised by having local brands prominent, but don’t forget to keep global favourites within that range too, advises Alex Hughes, Head of Categories & Insights at Diageo Ireland.

Last year the gin market was characterised by a demand from the consumer for premium gins which were accompanied by the push to pink gins supplemented by the addition of a number of flavoured alternatives. Gin cocktails played their part in the rising demand for gin too.


“Silks Gin under starters orders”

Boann Distillery’s inaugural gin, Silks Irish Dry Gin, launched last June to great reviews.

The name is inspired by the colourful jockey silks worn at Bellewstown Racecourse which can be seen from the distillery.

Silks Gin is composed with 14 distinct botanicals which are macerated for 24 hours before slow-distilling with vapour infusion in a 500 Litre custom “Bennett” copper pot still.

The signature botanicals have been hand-foraged from the Cooney family Apple orchards at the foot of the hill of Tara – Apple blossom from the trees, honey from the beehives and Elderflower and Hawthorn flower from the hedgerows.

This unique combination of botanicals and distillation technique creates a floral forward contemporary style gin with bright citrus aromas.

Perfect served in a G&T with a slice of red Apple and superb in a classic Martini.

Silks Irish Dry Gin is hand-distilled at the Cooney family-owned Boann Distillery in the heart of the Boyne Valley and distributed exclusively in Ireland by Barry and Fitzwilliam.

For further information visit  @silksgin on Social Media.




Thin Gin

Thin Gin, the multi-award-winning small-batch gin, has added a Thin Gin Raspberry to the range this Summer.  Despite being predominantly a higher-end on-trade gin, the pandemic saw Thin Gin enjoy exceptional online sales growth to the home consumer.

Winning numerous awards internationally for taste and quality, it’s the only Irish gin to have been recognised three years consecutively in the Irish Whiskey Awards’ Gin category, winning the overall ‘Best Irish Gin’ trophy in the inaugural year.

Thin Gin is produced in small batches and has retained its place as the Irish gin choice for the more discerning gin drinker. There are no gimmicks here; Thin Gin has a traditional Juniper base, a layer of native Irish flavours and finishes with a burst of citrus.

An expert reviewer in London last Summer commented, “[Thin Gin] citrus dominates with vivacious acidity from nose to palate to finish. Bright, lively and fresh”.

Not surprising then that Thin Gin holds a ‘Silver Outstanding’ IWSC Fever Tree Gin and Tonic award.  The ‘Thin’ in the name refers to Isaac Thin, a gentleman gin enthusiast who lived in Waterford in the 1920s.

Keeping a 100% Irish Signature Serve:

50mls Thin Gin,

125mls Poachers Premium Irish Tonic

Slice of fresh Orange.

Go to for more information.



Glendalough Distillery is a craft distillery in the Wicklow Mountains, progressively crafting spirits to evoke a sense of place, an appreciation of the wild flavours within and a recognition of what it took to put them there.

With every sip Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin gives you a ‘Taste of The Wild’ Wicklow mountains. Thoughtfully-crafted, the gin is made from wild flora foraged in the mountains surrounding the distillery and truly captures the essence of Glendalough.

The wild botanicals are picked at peak freshness daily by the distillery’s forager and Wicklow native Geraldine Kavanagh. Glendalough is one of the few distilleries in the world to employ a full-time forager.

The wild botanicals are painstakingly slow-distilled to tease out delicate flavours, in very small batches of less than 250 litres.

Glendalough Distillery has won ‘Ireland’s Gin Distillery of the Year’ at the New York Spirits Competition 2021 and the Sustainable Distillery of the Year (Icons of Whiskey 2021). Its Wild Botanical Gin has won multiple global awards including Double Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Awards 2021, IWSC (International Wine & Spirits Competition) and the Irish Gin Awards.



Introducing the most extraordinary of premium gins, this is gin reimagined. In October 2019 a new premium gin brand launched in Ireland and it’s extraordinary from the top down.

Wilde Irish Gin emerged onto the scene with dramatic flair, from the nod to Oscar Wilde’s cane on the intricate cap, to the bespoke book-shaped purple bottle this Irish gin has the undeniable presence of its namesake.

Uncharacteristically, Wilde is a background character on this occasion. It’s the gin that takes centre stage with notes of wild mountain purple Heather and bitter Orange peel. A floral nose leads into a bang of fresh citrus with a beautiful silky mouthfeel created by the addition of Chamomile flowers to the distillation process. This perfectly-balanced spirit is delicate enough to enjoy in a classic Martini and robust enough to hold its own in any style of cocktail.

Made in Ireland using select Irish ingredients, Wilde is carefully distilled by hand in small batches with two copper pot stills to ensure a level of quality that can only result from a Master Distiller’s intuition.

The bottle, designed by the world-famous Stranger & Stranger, has ensured this premium spirit stands out from the rest whether it’s on back bars or in the off-trade.

When it comes to serves, they can only be made one way – Wilde!

The signature Wilde and Tonic is refreshing, elegantly balanced and elaborated by Wilde’s unique botanicals that pop with a citrus twist.

Serve with fresh blood Orange if in season and regular Orange or Grapefruit with some vibrant Mint for the perfect Wilde serve.




Brockmans, a Gin like no other


Brockmans’ unique recipe of naturally-grown aromatic botanicals are is steeped in pure grain spirit for many hours to release their natural oils and aromas. The more traditional notes of gin are combined with a refreshing influence of citrus and aromatic wild berries. Bulgarian Coriander plays its part, providing an aromatic gingery Orange top note. This blends perfectly with the soft and rounded harmonies of blueberries and blackberries, all of which is supported by the bottom note of Tuscan Juniper berries. Dry, bittersweet Valencian Orange peel elongates the deeper tones and gives an intensely smooth finish.

Thereafter, Brockmans is slowly distilled in a 100 year-old traditional copper still, capturing the heart of the gin distillation. The distinctive gin notes derived from Brockmans unique recipe deliver an exquisite intensely smooth gin with a uniquely defining sensual taste experience.


Graham Norton Irish Gins

The award-winning Graham Norton Irish Gins are distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam. Graham’s Clear Gin and Pink Gin are made in the West Cork Distillery close to his home town.

Distilled and produced using 100% Irish grain, both gins draw their flavours from a combination of 12 botanicals including Angelica, Fuchsia flowers, Orris roots, Rose hip, Basil and Liquorice root.

Later this year Graham will add a Marmalade Gin to the range.

Did you know Graham has even created his own cocktail?

Ginsecco – a glass of Graham Norton Frizzante Prosecco, topped-up with a dash of his own pink gin and Strawberry to garnish. Or if you’d rather a G&T, Graham Norton’s Own Irish Gin is best enjoyed with Indian Tonic Water, lashings of ice and fresh Lime to garnish.

The Graham Norton’s Own Irish Pink Gin is best enjoyed with Indian Tonic Water, lashings of ice and red berries to garnish.

Graham Norton’s Pinksecco

50ml Graham Norton’s Pink GiN

50ml Soda water or lemonade

25ml Graham Norton’s award-winning Prosecco


A handful of your favourite seasonal berries

Method: Fill a large glass with ice, add the GN Pink GiN and the soda water/lemonade then top-up with the Prosecco and garnish with the berries.


Graham’s Own Pinktini

The name’s Norton, Graham Norton. Check out Graham’s Pinktini – a pale, pink take on a classic Martini with a twist of citrus for added zest…and it’s best served shaken, not stirred!

  • 75ml Graham Norton Pink Gin
  • 10ml Dry Vermouth
  • A slight peel of Orange zest
  • A handful of ice to shake it with

Method: Pour the Graham Norton Pink Gin and the Dry Vermouth into a shaker and add a handful of ice. Pour into a Martini glass and then add a slight peel of Orange zest (only a touch is needed for that extra zing, don’t go overboard!).


Bombay Bramble

Bombay Bramble, a new creative expression of gin bursting with natural flavours, is inspired by the classic Bramble cocktail but with a modern twist. This lively addition to the brand’s growing range of premium gins offers a tantalising taste experience and eye-catching colour created with a 100% natural rich fruit infusion.

Easy to mix and perfect for cocktail experimentation, Bombay Bramble is the first flavoured distilled gin from the brand and is set to add a twist of crimson colour and flavour to the classic G&T and a host of creative cocktails this year.

Instead of using artificial flavours, colours or additional sugar after distillation, freshly-harvested Blackberries and Raspberries are used to create a rich fruit infusion, capturing their essence when they’re most ripe.

Bombay Bramble is then created by marrying the brand’s vapour-distilled gin with the 100% natural berry infusion, giving a distinct colour and flavour.

This process allows the botanical and Juniper notes to shine through for a more sophisticated taste.

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