“Gin-trepreneurs” the UK’s Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss called them, referring to the growing number of craft gin innovators there who’re helping widen the appeal of gin worldwide. Of course we’re not short of them ourselves here in Ireland:
Drumshanbo, Glendalough, Dingle, Blackwater, Shortcross, Jawbox, Echlinville, Two Trees and Bertha’s Revenge to name but a few. These ‘gin-trepreneurs’ appear on the scene to join some of the more established brands at a very opportune time.
For with 1.87 billion G&Ts sold around the world gin sales are on the up once again, with IWSR figures putting total sales up 2.5% in 2015.
This is largely due to a renewed interest in the gin sector from consumers stimulated, for example, by the new range of gins which concentrate on widening the flavour spectrum.
These gin producers tend to focus on one particular botanical in the gin while others seek to recreate the original flavours and just like some beers, the use of Bourbon barrels for some gins has been extended to other kinds of spirits and even wine barrels.
This renewed interest in the gin market has stimulated steady growth, not only in the UK – where consumers are spending record amounts on gin and where, now worth over £2 billion, exports to 139 countries have jumped 46% over the past six years – but also in Europe where Euromonitor International forecasts that European gin consumption will have risen by 26% between 2015 and 2020.
Gin’s customer profile
Increasingly, gin is becoming a young person’s drink.
While market researcher Mintel found that one third of consumers in the UK have drunk gin in the past 12 months CGA Peach’s Brand Tracking data for July 2015 found that 35% of gin drinkers only started drinking gin within the last two years. What’s more, 71% of those are aged between 18 and 34.
This resonates with Mintel’s White Spirits and RTDs UK 2015 report which revealed that although over half (56%) of white spirit and Ready To Drink consumers think that gin is an older person’s drink, it’s the younger consumers who’re most likely to drink gin. Over two in five (42%) UK consumers aged between 18 and 34 have drunk gin in the past 12 months, compared to just over a quarter (27%) of over-45s.
“Our research indicates that gin is, in fact, now most likely to be drunk by younger consumers, suggesting that it has a chance to forge a dynamic image and move into even more innovative areas,” commented Chris Wisson, Senior Drinks Analyst at Mintel of its report.
And so it’s younger drinkers in particular that are expected to punt the value of the UK’s gin market to over £1 billion this year.
CGA Peach also found that whilst price remains the driving factor for drinking vodka out-of-home, brand availability remains more influential in the decision to drink gin with 38% citing the availability of a favourite brand as most affecting their decision to drink gin when out at a pub, bar or restaurant. In contrast, price scored only 29%, quality of brands 26% and visibility of brands 25%.
Furthermore 21% stated that the range of gin brands stocked was extremely important in deciding where to go out.
The UK’s Gin Guild ran a survey last year which found that 62% of 24-38 year-old drinkers request specific gin brands.
The Guild also found that 20% of the 2,000 alcohol drinkers surveyed were willing to cough-up more for a premium gin brand and half requested a specific brand of tonic to accompany their gin.
“It’s fantastic news for the gin category as a whole to see that 64% of respondents are likely to drink gin more regularly now than they did three years ago,” commented the Director General of the Gin Guild Nicholas Cook, “What’s even more encouraging is that much of the increased popularity seems to be coming from consumers seeking out and enjoying a whole range of gin brands, from big brands to smaller craft or locally-produced brands.
“This research also demonstrates that the on-trade is continuing to recognise the flexibility and unique qualities that gin brings to cocktail-making, with the majority of respondents preferring to enjoy gin in an on-trade environment”.
Irish gin market
According to IWSR figures, gin enjoyed growth of 12.9% in volume here last year to 125,000 nine-litre cases, up from 110,700 cases in 2014. IWSR’s longer-term gin trend indicates an Irish Category Annual Growth Rate of 3.8% between 2010 and 2015.
Nielsen puts the rise in gin sales volumes here at 13.2% MAT to the end of April 2016, worth an extra 16.8% in sales thus topping €75.3 million. This comprised a 14.2% rise in on-trade volumes (with sales up 16.8% to €55.18 million) complemented by a 12.5% rise in off-trade volumes (up 16.9% in value to €20.16 million).
An improved presentation for gins hasn’t hindered sales either; nor has a wider range of premium tonics to accompany them. Today, gin’s being served in the on-trade in a wide variety of containers replete with an attractive garnish to help tickle the consumer’s taste buds. As Kristy Blake Knox wrote in the Irish Independent last Autumn, “Ordering a G&T is an event: presented in fishbowl-style goblets with hunks of ice and half a cucumber, it fizzes and bubbles.
“It taps into the whole speakeasy vibe and lends itself perfectly to cocktail culture.”
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin accelerates growth at Dalcassian Wines & Spirits
Ireland’s latest – and Connacht’s first-ever – gin has officially been selected as the nation’s favourite gin in an Irish gin and tonic. Distributor Dalcassian Wines & Spirits says the response to the addition of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin to its portfolio has been unprecedented.
“I don’t remember seeing this type of reaction to a brand since the Baileys days” remarks John Dillon, Managing Director of Dalcassian Wines & Spirits, gesturing to the now iconic, blue apothecary-style bottle that’s taken the on and off-trade by storm.
As well as being the founder of The Shed Distillery, PJ Rigney is John’s business partner at Dalcassian and the curious mind behind the new Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin, slow-distilled by hand with “Oriental Botanicals and Gunpowder Tea” at The Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim.
Pat says that when he started getting hundreds of requests from the Irish and international trade – and indeed from consumers – following its launch at Prowein last March, they knew something very special was afoot.
Barely eight weeks on the market the brand is already in huge demand.
“It’s flying in Dublin Airport,” says John, “We’re listed in Dunnes Stores, SuperValu, the O’Briens and Molloys off-licence groups, independents across Ireland and we will be on shelf in Tesco in September… and that’s just the off-trade.”
Indeed during the recent Irish Gin and Tonic Fest in June, 57 out of 117 venues across Ireland selected the gin for their Signature Gin and Tonic serve. And it won the public vote. The overall winning Irish G&T, created by Davy Macs in Waterford, featured Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin and Fever-Tree tonic.
Dalcassian celebrates 11 years in business this year and already represents over 100 leading wine and spirits brands from across the world.
There’s great excitement in the Irish trade at the recent arrival of renowned international brands such as Licor 43, Goslings, Boru vodka, Diplomatico rum and the Quintessential gin range to the Dalcassian portfolio.
Its extensive wine portfolio has caught the attention of the country’s leading sommeliers, offering everything from premium house wines such as the Paul Mas range to the exclusive Italian Astoria portfolio. The brand made headlines at the recent Volvo Round Ireland yacht race when the spectacular Astoria corderie prosecco took pride of place at the winning presentation to world-famous US sailor George David.
Now with the arrival of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin to the Dalcassian portfolio the company’s growth has been further accelerated – and it has just added a further five new staff to their 30-strong team.
Four superior and diverse premium gins from the World’s Oldest Gin Distillery
Dalcassian Wines & Spirits recently launched four renowned gins from one of the oldest gin distilleries in the world, G&J Greenall Distillers in North West England.
The Quintessential range – Opihr, Bloom, Greenalls and Berkeley Square – are under the custodianship of the distillery’s first female Master Distiller Joanne Moore.
Joanne, the only known female gin Master Distiller in the world, is driven by a passion for new product development and experimentation. The supreme quality of her gin portfolio lies in the distillery’s core principals of continuity, consistency and expertise in crafting benchmark London Dry Gin.
This year she celebrates 10 years as Master Distiller, continuing the tradition of female gin pioneers at G&J, being one of the first female Gin Master Distillers in the world.
Joanne’s unique combination of scientific expertise and an innate ‘feel’ for spirits makes her one of very few individuals who can fulfil such a complex, intricate role, carrying immense levels of responsibility. She’s responsible for a breath-taking 40% of gin produced in the UK and 20% of all quality gin worldwide.
Her success lies in her critical eye, attention to detail, a good nose and a willingness to experiment:
“It takes a certain amount of bravery to step out of the traditional gin comfort zone to try new flavours whilst still remaining true to the definition of gin,” says Joanne, “I’ve a passion for creativity and try to bring a touch of my personality to the products.”
She’s responsible for sourcing quality raw ingredients for portfolio production and is ultimately responsible for the quality of the final product which shines through in the impeccable flavour of the diverse range of superior gins now available in Ireland.
Opihr is the world’s fastest-growing super premium gin with its heritage firmly rooted in the Ancient Spice Route. The hand-picked botanicals epitomise the exotic intensity of the Orient, with spicy cubeb berries from Indonesia, black pepper from India and coriander from Morocco.
The botanicals in Opihr Gin make the journey to their final destination, the oldest distillery in England, where Joanne infuses the botanicals in high quality spirit in copper pot stills, using over 250 years of tradition and expertise, to create a unique spiced gin.
The brand is a favourite of bar tenders and mixologists with a passion for creativity and Opihr has just launched the 2016 Opihr World Adventure Cocktail competition in Ireland. Irish bartenders are invited to submit their creations to the website www.opihr.com before the 31st of July. The national winner will represent Ireland in the global final in Maarakech in September.
Greenall’s The Original London Dry Gin
Greenall’s is recognised as the original London Dry Gin. Joanne uses the same secret recipe with eight unique botanicals that Thomas Dakin used in 1761 to produce a classic London Dry Gin with rich juniper notes balanced with mature citrus and spice. The gluten-free gin has a silky smooth opening, developing into a rich camphor and citrus taste with underlying eastern spice. It has a lasting finish with delicate bitterness and residual sweetness.
Best served as a classic G&T with lime or as a versatile cocktail ingredient.
Berkeley Square London Dry Gin
This is one of the world’s most luxurious gins, distilled by hand in small batches using the tiny copper still No 8.
It’s created using a unique method of ‘bouquet garni’ where the hand-picked botanicals (including kaffir lime leaves, sage, lavender and basil) are carefully wrapped in fine cotton muslin and then submerged in triple-distilled spirit to help infuse the herbaceous aromas.
Berkeley Square London Dry Gin is best savoured in a classic Martini, but good enough to be sipped neat on the rocks or mixed in cocktails. Nose: Rich herbaceous aroma, balanced with earthy notes and a lime citrus finish.
This light floral London Dry Gin was inspired by nature. Joanne chose the flowers of chamomile and honeysuckle, with the citrus fruit pomelo, to make up the three main botanicals for Bloom – each one contributing to the delicate gin-drinking experience. She uses demineralised fresh spring water to reduce the spirit to a final bottling of 40% ABV.
Bloom gin has won many awards and medals for its superior taste and quality including a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It’s slightly sweet with a very smooth mouth feel and a citrus finish.
The Quintessential range of gins are available from Dalcassian Wines & Spirits.
Gordon’s is the fastest growing mainstream gin with nearly one in every three gins served being a Gordon’s from Diageo.
Diageo’s premium gin, Tanqueray, has been voted the number one Bartenders Choice spirit brand by the World’s Top 50 Bars. It’s quickly gaining momentum here in Ireland through bartender advocacy and industry leading venues opting to use it as their pouring gin (The Mint Bar, Zozimus, Dublin). The brand produced an amazing experience at Taste of Dublin with Fitzer’s Catering. It’s being supported by intensive BTL and PR activity throughout 2016.
Four friends created Brockmans gin in 2009. They shared a view that gin could be something more exciting, different and delicious than the traditional brands that had dominated for so many years. So they set out to explore new possibilities in taste and push some boundaries to see where gin could go. Brockmans set out to be different. The founders wanted a new-style gin, one with a recipe that went beyond juniper into more avant-garde territory.
Brockmans, from Gilbeys, is like no other gin. It’s intensely smooth with a soft, fruity character derived from the carefully-selected botanicals used in distillation. Italian juniper berries provide pine, lavender and camphor notes. Spanish lemon and orange peel add zesty citrus. But the unique use of dried wild blueberries and blackberries gives Brockmans its most distinctive flavour.
To make the perfect G&T, pour a good measure of Brockmans gin over 4-5 ice-cubes topped with chilled premium tonic. Garnish with a twist of pink grapefruit peel and 2 fresh blueberries. The sharp acidity of grapefruit and the floral notes of blueberry combine beautifully with the unique botanicals of Brockmans. For a simple variation, replace the peel with a fresh, halved strawberry, or try Ginger Ale instead of tonic for a G&G. Garnish with a thin slice of fresh ginger and two blueberries.
‘Gins of the World Collection’
Last year Counterpoint Ireland answered customer demand for a super-premium tonic water and range of mixers that were held in high esteem by mixologists and industry experts in Europe. The Thomas Henry mixer range answered that call. This year Counterpoint’s management decided to compliment the this offering by travelling around Europe to find the most exquisite gins available and offer them in the ‘Gins of the World’ collection – six gins bound together by creative recipes using local botanicals, unique personal stories, ‘eureka’ ideas and the aspiration to create truly luxury spirits:
Shortcross: David and Fiona Boyd-Armstrong built a small distillery with a copper pot-still at Crossgar, Co Down. Crossgar or ‘An Chrois Ghearr’ means ‘Short Cross’. They use botanicals growing around their Rademon Estate Distillery and have won world awards including San Francisco International Wine & Spirits and Gin Masters. It’s the most awarded gin in Ireland!
Gin Sul: Stephan Garbe from Hamburg fell in love with Portugal and decided to leave his advertising job and use rich fruits and botanicals from the Algarve to create his ‘hand-made’ Gin Sul or ‘gin of the south’, distilled in a petite 100 litre copper pot still.
Siegfried: Few deluxe gins have won as many awards as Siegfried. Raphael Vollmar and Gerald Koenen distill their gin in the German Rhineland – a classic juniper dry gin using 18 botanicals. The use of Linden blossoms that make this gin stand out.
Breil Pur: Beat Sidler & Gustav Inglin set out to fashion a London Dry gin, the most popular type of gin globally, using Swiss alpine organic ingredients including hand-picked Swiss Alps junipers, alpine roses & chocolate mint and distilling them in a copper-still fired wood kiln . An exquisite hand-made gin that lives up to the term ‘luxury’.
GinRaw: Rosendo Mateu (master perfumer), Sergi Figueras (mixologist), Javier Caballero (sommelier) and Xano Saguer (chef) came together to create a gin living up to the gourmet standards of Barcelona. A ‘low temperature’ distillation process popular in the kitchens of Michelin star restaurants ensures the essences of ingredients such as lemon peel, Kaffir lime leaves, Black cardamom and coriander are transported to the finished liquid.
Citedelle: Alexandre Gabriel found an 18th Century recipe for a jenever from the Royal French Citadelle Distillery at Dunkirk and distilled a gin using the Maison Ferrand Distillery’s Cognac stills. Citadelle uses 19 botanicals to produce a crisp, smooth gin, a characteristic believed to come from the use of the Cognac stills. It has won many awards including double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Competition.
For information regarding the Gins of the World Collection contact Counterpoint Ireland on 1890276468.
Star of Bombay
Both bartenders and trade are increasingly interested in using and stocking premium gin. Star of Bombay, the new Super Premium expression from the House of Bombay, is the latest creation from its Master Distiller and the culmination of years of experience. Working with the Master of Botanicals, they searched the world for new botanicals that could play in harmony with Bombay Sapphire’s 1761 original inspired recipe that begins with the eight botanicals lying at the heart of all Bombay Sapphire gins: juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orris, angelica, almonds, liquorice and cassia bark. It’s then elevated with the addition of two new botanicals: gently dried bergamot orange peel from Calabria and aromatic ambrette seed sourced from Ecuador.
The small-batch production allows the Master Distiller to lavish more care and attention on each process, one small batch at a time. The Vapour Infusion process is slowed down so that the botanicals’ essential oils can be extracted more thoroughly for a distinctive smoothness, richness and complexity.
Star of Bombay’s bottling strength is 47.5% ABV compared to 40% ABV. The higher strength emphasises the elevated aromatics and helps underpin the spirit’s overall balance and harmony. It’s Signature Serve is The Intense Gin and Tonic, a unique alternative to an evening cocktail, offering a more flavourful experience:
The Intense Gin and Tonic:
One part Star of Bombay
One part Indian Tonic Water
Finished with orange zest
Star of Bombay is produced in the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill and the Home of Bombay gin has now opened its doors to the public, offering a behind-the-scenes experience showcasing the craftsmanship and creativity infused into every drop of Bombay Sapphire gin.
See more at www.bombaysapphire.com
Glendalough’s Spring Gin
Glendalough Distillery, innovators of seasonal gins here in Ireland, recently released the 2016 edition of its Spring Gin and not long after this latest seasonal batch was bottled it won three medals in the three categories entered in the Global Gin Masters 2016.
Glendalough Distillery Spring Gin was awarded Silver Medals in the Ultra Premium and Organic categories and a Gold Medal in the Micro Distillery category.
Four times a year Glendalough Distillery produces a seasonal gin using a blend of foraged botanicals growing wild locally and a base of six classic gin botanicals, aiming to recapture Ireland’s lost heritage of great spirit production and create a new, exciting and contemporary brand built around these values.
Spring 2016 features foraged Wicklow botanicals including Gorse Flower, Sweet Woodruff, Wood Sorrel, Beech Leaves, Watermint, Blackberry Leaves, Dandelion Flower, Cleavers, Sweet, Cicely, Blackcurrant Leaves, Birch Sap and Scots Pine.
The small batches (3,000 bottles maximum) of this award-winning seasonal gin are distilled in a Holstein copper still and then left to settle for two weeks until blended with Wicklow mountain water. Bottled and labelled by hand, this is a truly organic Irish product and despite a familiar taste profile to the gin, each season has its own unique flavor profile.
“We pick and distil the next day” explains Marketing Manager Gary McLoughlin, “this is artisan, small batches, everything is natural and it’s all a bit different. In some cases, producers aim to have the same, but our focus on seasonality turns that on its head. It’s quite unique to be able to say our product will change every few months.”
Glendalough Distillery Spring Gin is exclusively distributed in Ireland by Findlater Wine & Spirit Group.