The gin brands to watch in 2016
Gin continues to be the local hero of the white spirit category – but will 2016 see it go global? We predict which brands are set to enhance their international appeal in 2016.
The latest figures from Euromonitor seem to say yes. In the next five years, volume is expected to pick up by 11.8%, fuelled by international brands making waves in new markets around the globe. A prime example is Beefeater, which has grown in both sales and portfolio scope over the last 12 months, and seen standout successes, including an impressive 53% volume growth in Germany.
JC Iglesias, global brand director for Beefeater Gin and Plymouth Gin, says: “The gin category has enjoyed another extremely positive year globally. Looking beyond the top markets for Beefeater – Spain, the USA, travel retail and the UK – we are seeing growth in many countries across the rest of Europe, Latin America and even in Asia Pacific. It is an interesting pattern to see, and with gin growth so broadly based it’s hard to find a market that isn’t showing growth.”
Of course, a huge factor fuelling the general gin boom is the number of new gin distilleries popping up across the globe. Amid talk of “saturated markets” and whispers of a “gin fallout” lie a number of brands that welcome the various new distilleries – and the buzz they have sparked. Iglesias explains: “New products invigorate the category, generating excitement for gin lovers globally, resulting in consumers with a deeper knowledge of the sector. Historic gins benefit from this piqued interest in gin, with gin enthusiasts understanding and appreciating the craftsmanship at the heart of the brand.”
This new appreciation for craftsmanship seems to be gin’s driving force. Recent figures released by Euromonitor show that gin grew 7.7% in value despite decreasing in volume by 1.1% for the year 2013-2014, reinforcing the presence of premiumisation and a preference for quality spirits. Alfie Amayo, brand ambassador for City of London Distillery, has witnessed this change first hand. “Where once bartenders in London stocked and pushed products based solely on the ideology of gross profit, there now seems to be a greater focus on the quality of the product,” he says. “Over the year I have seen a shift in attitude from ‘how much does it cost?’ primarily, to ‘tell me about the production methods, botanicals, etc’, with cost being a secondary or even tertiary influencer.”
Gin’s success, in part, could also be due to the way we consume it. Not only is the spirit a cocktail list staple, but even the humble G&T has had a 21st Century makeover.
Amayo explains: “The G&T now looks like a work of art. Bring on the goblet glass and the elaborate garnishes. Consumers are willing to pay more because, beyond the obvious increase in quality, gin is fashionable again.”
A firm favourite across the on- and off-trade, it seems incredibly likely gin will continue upon its upward trajectory. The category even has the seal of approval from the UK government, which is keen to capitalise on the heritage of gin – most recently through the launch of a London
Gin Trail created by the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA).
The UK’s Trade and Investment department (UKTI) has also made efforts to promote British gin in the US, showcasing 23 UK distilleries in cities across the country as part of a major gin trade initiative. “I expect the category to perform incredibly well next year as gin producers continue to seek dominance internationally,” Amayo adds.
Click through the following pages to discover which brands and trends we have predicted will dominate the gin sector in 2016.
With a new master distiller yet to be announced following the retirement of Tom Nichol and the release of its limited edition “juniper-forward” Bloomsbury gin, Tanqueray is set to be busy next year. In 2014, the brand was one of only two selling over 1m cases a year, earning it the title of Gin Brand Champion 2015. We predict this momentum will build.
Handled by Halewood International, Whitley Neill has become a bartenders’ favourite since its launch in 2005, beloved on back bars if under the radar in retail. In June, the drinks distributor welcomed Stewart Hainsworth as its new CEO, shaking up the entire portfolio. Rumour has it Whitley Neill is set to become the star of the Halewood range.
Sipsmith has gone from strength-to-strength since it first fired up its copper stills in 2009. The brand’s most recent success story was a crowdfunding campaign for the creation of a “quarterly sipping service”, The Worshipful Company of Sipsmiths, which raised 200% of its targeted funding in just three days. The brand is likely to expand its global footprint in the New Year, so growth is certainly on the horizon – watch this space.
• Never mind the gin fallout everyone is anticipating, we’re building up to what seems to be a “craft” fallout. Just how long it will take until the market reaches breaking point is yet to be seen.
• The trend for locally foraged botanicals will continue, backed in the on-trade by bartenders jostling to create that “perfect serve” G&T. First grapefruit garnishes, next – who knows?
• Expats in Asia are calling in the gin, and there’s never been so much potential in this market. With a fresh wave of gin bars popping up in the likes of Hong Kong and Singapore, it won’t be long until the category breaks out to reach smaller local markets.