It’s one giant leap for juniper in bars

Flavoured and Scottish gins continue to grow in the country’s pubs and bars

Gin is on course to overtake vodka as the UK’s best-selling spirit following years of growth

THERE’S few drinks categories that have snowballed in the way gin has.

While the spirit has always had its place on the back-bar, gin has exploded in volume terms in recent years and is now worth more to Scotland’s licensed venues than Scotch whisky and rum, according to CGA data.

And what’s more, the juniper-led distillate has been tipped to become the UK’s favourite spirit, ahead of vodka, in the recently released Trending 2020 report from William Grant & Sons.

Pink was the colour of the category this year, as was evidenced by Gordon’s Pink, an extension of the brand released less than five years ago, rocketing to become the UK on-trade’s favourite gin ahead of its own classic London Dry variant – and reinforcing pink gin’s status as a genuine must-stock for licensed venues across the country.

Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire continue to follow as top customer favourites, while Scottish gins continue to be in vogue in bars.

William Grant & Sons-owned premium gin Hendrick’s, a brand often given credit for the revitalisation of the category, remains one of the most popular choices in Scotland’s pubs, representing the fourth most popular choice amongst consumers, according to the CGA data.

The brand extended its range of gins earlier this year with the launch of the limited-edition Midsummer Solstice Gin.

But it doesn’t stop there for Scottish gins, with VC2 Brands’ Boë Gin performing strongly, boosted by a high profile advertising campaign with singer Paloma Faith.

Further to the east, Edinburgh Gin has continued its tradition of experimenting with different flavoured gins. This year, the brand unveiled a new full-strength version of its Rhubarb & Ginger Gin Liqueur; the 40% ABV variant was swiftly followed up by the additions of full-strength Lemon & Jasmine and Bramble & Honey gins.

Neil Mowat, Ian Macleod Distillers‘ UK marketing director, said that with gin drinkers “increasingly keen to explore and experiment within the category”, both gin liqueurs and full-strength flavoured gins are “a must for any well-stocked bar”.

There’s plenty of activity from other Scottish gin producers.

St. Andrews-based Eden Mill, also a popular selection in bars this year, secured pouring rights at the SSE Hydro and is looking to capitalise on Christmas, releasing a festive 40% ABV Candy Cane Christmas Gin in addition to expanding its Mixology Project range of RTDs.

Elsewhere, a desire from consumers for higher strength gins is said to have led Caorunn owner International Beverage Holdings to release a 54% ABV Highland Strength version of its small-batch gin.