IT’S a good time to be a gin maker – or a gin drinker – in Scotland. The juniper and aromatics flavoured spirit has been enjoying a remarkable resurgence in the past few years.
According to Nielsen figures, the gin category’s total value in the UK has risen to £735 million, seemingly driven by genuine consumer demand and interest, coupled with pushes from big and small manufacturers alike.
“The category is becoming more dynamic and modern, with Gordon’s, the UK’s number one gin brand, capitalising on this growth and leading the category for innovation,” said Guy Dodwell, sales director, GB off-trade for Diageo.
“Gordon’s gin is suitable for occasions all year round, with the flavours range, including Crisp Cucumber, and Elderflower, suited to gin drinkers and non-gin drinkers alike.”
Like vodka, consumer trial in the on-trade is working through to off-trade performance. Quoting on-trade research specialist CGA, Catherine Conaghan, head of trade relations for Scotland at Diageo, said: “Gin continues to grow in Scotland by 9.9% in volume on moving annual totals (MAT), even whilst overall spirits are in decline by 3.7%.
“Gordon’s dominates the Gin market with a 59% volume share and continues to grow.
“We’re seeing gin reinvent itself in Scotland, with premium gins seeing double-digit growth with Tanqueray up 16.5% and Tanqueray 10 up 82%.”
Looking at the figures and the proliferation of new products – there seems little doubt that Scotland is going through a gin craze. The question is whether we’re closer to the start, the middle or the end.
Marcus Pickering, co-founder of Pickering’s Gin, sees no sign of things slowing down any time soon. “Brands that are doing well are Botanist, Caorunn and Hendrick’s. However, Pickering’s Gin is performing really well and we are chasing these larger more established brands,” he said. “An example of mainstream brands’ strengths is Bombay – one of their main strengths is their recent development of the Gin Distillery – the look and feel of this is heritage. Gin now is all about the experience, heritage and provenance.
“It’s an exciting time in the gin market in Scotland with the growing trend, popularity and resurgence of gin. The more gin brands that are around the more offerings are available for consumers, and the popularity of the product continues to increase.”
Caithness-based Rock Rose Gin, which was established in 2014, has already sold more than 20,000 bottles.
“Small producers are doing very well, as these distilleries offer great variety and quality to match,” said founder Martin Murray. “Rock Rose Gin is only nine months old, but we have sold more than double our forecasted production for our first year in business. We see a mix of high-quality special gins doing significant volume and also niche products catching the consumers’ imaginations.”