WSTA explores ‘flavoured gin’ definition

8th July, 2019 by Amy Hopkins

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) is exploring definitions for gin, including flavoured gin, following the category’s rapid global growth.

UK trade members are debating definitions within gin

Last year, the flavoured gin market increased volume sales by 78.3% globally, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. Meanwhile, volume sales of the total gin category grew by 8.3%.

The UK in particular has been a key market for the acceleration of flavoured gin, which now represents 20% of the market’s total gin category. Globally, the flavoured contingent represents 5.1% of the total gin sector.

In 2018, Gordon’s Premium Pink became the first pink gin to exceed sales of one million cases. 

Flavoured brands have been widely credited with bringing new consumers into gin, but debate has intensified in recent years over the definition and regulation of the category.

Critics argue that heavily-flavoured brands do not legally fulfil the criteria to be labelled ‘gin’, since the spirit’s predominant flavour must be juniper, according to EU law.

In a statement to The Spirits Business, Miles Beale, chief executive of trade body the WSTA, said the organisation is “currently leading a debate on gin definitions, finding out through a series of gin summits how best to map out clear rules and guidelines for British distillers moving forward”.

He continued: “The discussion has arisen as distillers have started to innovate and flavour their gin to meet consumer demands. We aim to ensure British gin keeps its reputation as a premium product, envied across the world, but at the same time allow our innovative spirit makers to grow and create new products.”

The meetings are currently ongoing and have been welcomed by a number of UK distillers.

In 2018, gin sales in the UK were valued at £1.9 billion (US$2.4bn) after more than 66m bottles were sold during the 12-month period.

The Spirits Business explores the implications of the flavoured gin boom in its July 2019 edition, out now.

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