Cover all the bases with a range of gins

A thought-out approach is needed when deciding which variants to stock

The ever-growing category allows operators to provide gin drinkers with a range of flavours, according to the firm behind Red Door Gin

FROM the staples of juniper and angelica root to the more unusual additions of olives and wormwood – the broadening range of botanicals employed in gin production has helped create a flavour wheel in the category as diverse as it is interesting.

With consumers captivated with the different possibilities gin now offers, be it through the spirit itself, mixers or cocktails, operators keen to make the most of the modern day gin boom have been advised to make their ranges as diverse as possible –whether it is five or 50-strong.

The demand caused by the explosion in different flavours within the category was laid bare by Andrew Hannah, brand controller for Gordon & MacPhail-owned Red Door Gin.

“The rise in popularity of gin in the Scottish on-trade is showing no signs of slowing down,” he said.

“This is in part due to the innovation within the category, with new product launches, flavour variations, garnish experimentations and brand extensions expected to continue throughout 2019.

“There are currently over 50 Scottish gin brands available in the market, meaning the on-trade can provide consumers with a range of flavour profiles to cater to their preference, which in turn helps the industry continue to grow as consumers get more savvy about their spirit choices.”

This diversity in taste has made a decent number of gins on the back-bar unavoidable for many operators, according to Ben Lomond Gin’s brand manager, Alisha Goodwin.

“In 2018, global consumption of gin grew faster than any other beverage alcohol category,” she said.

“Gin’s versatility and broad spectrum of flavour platforms make it an essential ingredient on any cocktail list.”

When deciding upon what to stock in the swelling market, which is becoming harder for licensees to navigate, Lara Williams, Stirling Gin’s distillery manager, said it was important to nail down the key flavours gin provides.

She said: “It would be impossible to cater to an entire customer base as people’s tastes vary wildly and change with the seasons.

“What would be better is if operators offer a wide range of styles, making sure they hit the entire flavour wheel – floral, spicy, fruity, herbal and citrus.”

The proliferation of gins has had a well-publicised knock-on effect on the tonic water market too, and this is something for licensees to bear in mind when creating an appealing gin offer, said Amy Burgess, senior trade communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, whose portfolio includes Schweppes.

“There’s an increasingly wide range of gin flavours available, from rhubarb and lemon drizzle to Turkish delight and raspberry ripple,” she said.

“Innovation within tonics has worked hard to keep up the pace, with more and more flavoured variants making their way to on-trade menus.

“Consumers are drawn to intriguing new tastes and operators can make the most of this by pairing gins with interesting tonic flavours in order to create unique mixed drinks that will titillate consumers’ tastes buds.”

Franklin & Sons’ brand manager, Rosie Crossman, agreed, recommending that operators tap into the substantial rhubarb flavour trend with the category.

She said: “Flavoured gins are booming thanks to consumers’ drives for discovery and experimentation, which has translated over to tonics.

“Rhubarb-infused gin now accounts for 54% of sales within the flavoured gin category, and this trend has trickled down into the tonic category, with it becoming a sought-after ingredient amongst premium tonics.”

As the gin category draws in more fans who want to drink the spirit in serves other than a G&T, a solid selection of different mixer options is essential to complement a gin range, reckons Victoria Miller, head of on-trade and prestige retail for Eden Mill.

She said with more and more customers in the on-trade getting into drinking gin with alternative mixers, it is important for outlets to have “the ability to cater for those consumers with ginger ale or premium lemonade options while making them feel just as important”.

Craft your range

Stock a good mix of flavour profiles from entry-level and light on juniper gins through to those juniper-heavy gins.

– Eden Mill.

Outlets can benefit from providing tasting samples to encourage customers to try something new and upsell.

– Red Door Gin.

Know your range and provenance, develop excellent perfect serves with fresh garnishes and make sure you have consistency in preparation, appearance and taste.

– Stirling Gin.