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The 21st Century Ginaissance

Gordons Pink.JPG (1)

The Gin craze first swept across London in the first half of the 18th Century, with gin proving a popular alternative to the banned French imports imposed by King William III. Poor regulation led to a series of gin acts within government which sought to control production of the spirit: proper legislation came into effect and brands we still know and love today pioneered the distillation of fine quality gin. Many will be familiar with the prints issued by William Hogarth (Gin Lane and Beer Street) in support of crucial government intervention and the enactment of the gin acts.

Fast forward to 2019 and Gin has reinvented itself: we find ourselves, quite happily, amidst the peak of a 21st Century Ginaissance. Over the past 5 years, gin performance in the UK on trade has been continually strong and is showing no signs of slowing, with gin volume almost doubling across the last year alone1. There are several key trends coming to the fore within gin. Firstly, consumers in general are choosing to drink less but spend more, being more concerned with provenance and quality, seeking exploration of new flavours and brands. This permits an openness to trade up into premium gin brands and has driven record growth in this space.

‘Ginnovation’ accounts for nearly a quarter of all spirits launches since 20172, with many flavoured gins entering the market. From Raspberry to Palma Violet to Lemon Drizzle, the wide range of flavours now available is making gin accessible to all. Flavoured gin is seeing huge success growing a staggering +325% since this time last year1. Leading the way in flavoured is Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin, which is now the number 1 gin in the on-trade market, with 24% share of gin sales1, and by far the most popular choice for consumer.

The explosion of interest and constant innovation has led to the development of a category that is fun and exciting, so there is no surprise that consumer demand is at an all-time high. Such large-scale innovation does create some complexity: for licensees and consumers alike. With over 200 new gins entering the UK market since 20172 it is no surprise that gin is becoming an ever-increasingly complex category for outlets to range, and equally for consumers to shop.

So, how do you make the most of this category?

Unless you are running a gin specialist business, we recommend that the range should consist of 5 – 12 gins, dependant on your type of outlet and consumer base. The range should be inclusive of market leading brands across both core and premium to signpost the category to consumers, ensure brand loyal consumers can always find their beloved gin brand, and to cater for different consumer budgets. Once your range is established & signposted, a mix of different types of flavours profiles is vital to ensure breadth for exploration. Juniper-led and citrus gins are the most popular and should be your lead. Beyond this, think about including floral, fresh or spicy flavours – and of course, the ever-growing and increasingly popular flavoured gin category.

How do I manage my range to include niche & craft products?

Our recommendation to manage innovation and variety – whilst keeping your range manageable - is to rotate regional and craft gins, to ensure constant newness is introduced. This will keep the range exciting for current customers and will create stand out to entice new customers to come in and try. Look to include something unusual, regional or eye-catching, and crucially know the point of difference that has driven you to include it within your range!

All your hard work to create a great range is at risk if you let your customers down at the point of service. In this category especially, we know that consumers are highly concerned with that perfect serve, so it is vitally important to get this right every time. 4 out of 5 consumers know how their drink should be served: their expectations are going to be high3! The now widely available Copa de Balon glass (translated as balloon cup) has now become synonymous with gin, with this specific type of glass ensuring the drink is served chilled whilst maximising the aromas of the gin.

Here are some top tips on getting that perfect serve right every time

  • Firstly, fill the glass with plenty of ice. Ice keeps ice cold and will help stop the serve from diluting!
  • Add your gin of choice, using a jigger to ensure accuracy.
  • Top up with a good quality bottled tonic (or alternative mixer as desired)
  • Garnish as appropriate and serve

Looking to go the extra mile and really drive value and excitement in your range? Gin spritz serves can also be simple to execute, whilst providing a point of difference.

Gordons Pink Spritz


By following these tips, you can look to build a Ginvincible range; ensuring breath of choice whilst limiting complexity to shop, at the same time making this simple for you bar staff to serve.


About the author

Sophie Partridge

Sophie is the Customer Category Manager - On Trade at Diageo, custodians of internationally renowned brands built over hundreds of years.

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