Chance to showcase nation’s buoyant spirit
IT is difficult to overstate how far the Scottish gin industry has come in the last decade.
With some 70 distilleries now producing a diverse range of the distillate in Scotland, and more in the pipeline, the only surprising thing about the inaugural International Scottish Gin Day (Saturday August 3) is that it has taken until 2019 for it to be held.
With many Scottish gins in keeping with the prevalent trends of local, craft spirits production and the seemingly never ending thirst for the spirit in pubs and bars, drinks firms told SLTN that operators should use the day to shine a light on the raft of expressions Alba now offers.
To maximise the opportunity the day presents, it is not only important to stock a decent range of Caledonian gins but also to ensure staff can upsell the spirits and are well armed with knowledge of the products, said Lara Williams, distillery manager at Stirling Gin.
“Creating a specific Scottish Gin Day menu will give operators the chance to really show off their knowledge of Scottish gins,” she said.
“The more varied these gins can be, the more scope operators have to appeal to everyone’s taste and to experiment with cocktails that wouldn’t sell as quickly at other times of the year.
“Most importantly, they need to make sure their staff know everything about their Scottish brands.”
He said: “In order to capitalise on International Scottish Gin Day, operators should make sure they’re promoting the range of Scottish gins available in a clear and engaging way, whether through a dedicated gin menu or via display boards and table-top chalkboards highlighting certain gins.
“Consumers like to know where the spirit they’re purchasing is from and there has long been an interest in buying local.
“The day also provides operators with the opportunity to show the regional offering available with a tasting map, in a similar way to the whisky industry, highlighting the different flavour profiles found in products throughout the country.”
The significance of the suggested serve was signposted by Alisha Goodwin, brand manager for Ben Lomond Gin, which was launched last month by Loch Lomond Group.
“Specialist serves which bring out the flavours of the liquid are a simple way to engage customers on Scottish Gin Day,” she said.
“Operators should pair the gin with mixers which truly complement the taste and flavour profile, choosing garnishes which highlight its individual characteristics.”
Putting on gin events such as tastings in licensed venues was flagged as a route to success on the day by Victoria Miller, head of on-trade and prestige retail for Eden Mill St Andrews.
She said: “Hosting events can be a great and fun way to drive consumers into a venue, to then spend money later in the evening. Our brand ambassadors can help work with on-trade outlets to host fun and informative events.”