World’s largest gin marketsBy Amy Hopkins
The rapid rise of craft brands and Prohibition drinks has the spirits industry in the grip of a second craze for gin – these are the spirit’s largest markets.
With innovation abounding the category and a continuing romanticisation of early 20th century cocktails, its no surprise that gin is experiencing what many are calling a “second renaissance” across the globe.
Countless new brands have been launched in recent years, with many attempting to stand out from the saturated group through an artisan edge.
While craft brands are not usually credited with greatly affecting spirits volume sales, independent gin brands such as Sipsmith have reached such heights of popularity, this may soon change.
Premiumisation in the category has also been boosted by the surging popularity of classic cocktails like the Negroni, Last Word, and Martini, while bartenders also seek brands with heritage in order to provide consumers with a slice a history alongside their serve.
From London Dry styles to the inclusion of savoury botanicals and a raft of spiced and flavoured gins in between, there is now a gin to suit any occasion and palate.
Based on Euromonitor’s findings of how many litres of gin were consumed in 2012, we count down five of the world’s largest gin markets.
A move away from local brands and growing demand for premium international spirits in the emerging markets means that India comes in 5th place on our list of the world’s largest gin markets.
Almost 25.8 million litres of the spirit were purchased in 2012 and while it is an old favourite among the British colonial set, it is increasingly available in top hotels and restaurants, such as Arola in Mumbai.
Furthermore, figures released by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India in 2012 revealed that the sale of imported spirits in India was expected to grow 25% a year until 2015, reaching 55 million litres. Gin could therefore experience further growth in India over the next two years.
Gin has had a chequered history with its adoptive motherland, the UK, stemming from its inherent association with the debauched era of the late 17th century when a so-called ‘gin craze’ gripped the nation.
While the moral deviances associated with gin – portrayed in Hogarth’s infamous painting ‘Gin Lane’ – affected the perception of the spirit until the 1900s, a surge in demand for Prohibition-style drinks and Mad Men cocktails over the past two years, has seen it return to prominence in the UK spirits scene once again.
The widespread rise of premiumisation in gin and the rise of UK craft gin distillers, has also contributed to the UK’s consumption of 31.2 million litres of the spirit in 2012.
Spain has been identified as a key market for gin for some time due to the immense popularity of the gin and tonic, with the country creating its own serve involving bulbous glasses and plenty of garnish.
Sales of gin have continued to boom in the country for over the past five years despite its economic bust. The story was no less true ion 2012 when Spain saw sales of 31.9 million litres of gin.
However, some have predicted that Spanish consumers could soon fall out of favour with gin. David Bromige, creator of Martin Miller’s Gin, told The Spirits Business that many of the Spanish-owned gin brands are beginning to drop out of the marketplace as consumers “look for a certain level of integrity in brands”.
Similarly to the UK, the enormous popularity of cocktails from the glamorous Jazz Age and 1960s era has boosted sales of gin in the US, which reached 98.1 million litres in 2012.
With regards to the off-trade, premium and craft gin brands are also gaining in momentum across the country, while its reputation as the “quintessential British spirit” also allows gin to retain a kitsch appeal – the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton most likely did much for sales in the states.
However, US distillers are also innovating in the category, generating interest in a home-grown style of gin in the region.
This number one spot may come as somewhat of a surprise to many, but the Philippines is by-far the world’s largest gin market, purchasing 265 million litres of the spirit in 2012 – more than all of the other countries on this list combined.
Local brand Ginebra San Miguel makes up a large part of these sales, which are boosted by the relative affordability of the spirit.
However, the continued growth of premium international spirits in Asia also means that many affluent Philippine consumers are “trading up”.