Can London dry gin achieve GI status?

12th February, 2014 by Becky Paskin

With questions abounding over the potential for London dry gin to achieve GI status, we ask if gin can go back to its roots, or has “London (dry)” become as generic as Yorkshire pudding?

London-dry-gin

Consumers often mistake London dry gin as a spirit which solely heralds from the UK’s capital, when in fact it is a production style

“Given the heritage and history of distilling in London, should London-distilled gin be protected and what is the best course of action?” The controversial subject of applying for an appellation for London-distilled gin has been discussed by British distillers in great length for some time.

London has been connected to gin since the early 17th century during the reign of William of Orange, through to the 18th century Gin Craze and its infamous depictions as “mother’s ruin” in William Hogarth’s Gin Lane of 1751. It was even the British development of the column still in the early 19th century that gave rise to the London dry style which is so popular today.

It’s no wonder then that 15% of confused consumers incorrectly believe the term “London dry gin” refers to spirit heralding from the UK capital, rather than a particular production style. At least that’s according to the (Not) Made in London – Assessing the Value and Understanding of the term London Dry Gin (2013) report

London dry gin is one of those curious terms that in its modern definition actually has nothing to do with the city itself. The reference to London was simply a way for the EU to refer to the grade of gin with “the most stringent and demanding production criteria” known. But without any strict geographical indication, or GI status, London dry gin can be distilled anywhere in the world, from Scotland to South Africa.

As part of the (Not) Made in London report, UK distillers were also asked their opinions on whether London-made gin should be given a protected appellation?

All the London-based distillers asked were in favour, while 40% of other distillers in the UK also agreed. Given the history of gin in London, it’s not hard to see why distillers are so keen to hold onto their own heritage, particularly when other countries hold the city in such high esteem.

“There’s magnificent enthusiasm in the cocktail cities of the US for products made in London because so few are,” said Allen Katz, co-founder of New York Distilling Co. speaking at the London Gin Summit 2013 in early October. “We think of London as the home of gin, and as a consumer from the US I can tell you it’s all simplified. We believe it comes from London. We don’t care who markets it or where it comes from, so long as it’s from London.”

One Response to “Can London dry gin achieve GI status?”

  1. Mike says:

    I have long thought that `London` gin should have si status. Were that in place when Beefeater was taken over, the James Burroughs distillery would not have been closed. With the increasing number of small gin distilleries, it is surely time to take the bull by the horns. I would like to be able to order a London gin which wasn`t distilled in Warrington or Edinburgh.

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