World Gin Day could see the already popular spirit attract even more attention
A CORE range of high quality products and effective use of menus will be among the best ways to capitalise on the upcoming World Gin Day in June.
The annual initiative, taking place this year on 11th June, sees events hosted in venues around the world, including in Scotland.
However, even if venues are not involved in the initiative directly, the increased awareness around what is already a hugely popular spirit could help to drive demand in the on-trade.
“It’s a largely celebrated day and it gives all the gin lovers an excuse to have a G&T – not that we need an excuse,” said Debbie MacMillan of Isle of Barra Distillers, producer of Barra Atlantic Gin.
“It would be great to see more promotion of craft gin brands and local brands in the on-trade for this occasion.”
Johna Penman, UK trade and consumer marketing director at Ian Macleod Distillers, owner of Edinburgh Gin, said World Gin Day is “the perfect opportunity to generate footfall, with consumers keener than ever to be out experiencing hospitality again”.
“It gives venues the opportunity to offer extra special premium experiences, such as a gin tasting or a bespoke cocktail menu, which will drive more attention to your venue and increase profit margins after a challenging few years,” said Penman.
She added that the events of the past two years have changed consumer behaviours “in some fundamental ways”, and this will be worth bearing in mind when venues are preparing their gin offers.
“Nearly 35% of consumers now use menus more often than they did before – meaning they are more likely to try something new or different, rather than order their regular go-to serve,” said Penman.
Careful planning of drinks and cocktail menus was also advocated by Jo Jacobius of Dunnet Bay Distillers, producer of Rock Rose Gin.
She advised operators to feature “two or three well-chosen cocktails” ahead of World Gin Day.
“Promote those cocktails via your menu, on your website and just by talking to guests in order to seed excitement for the day you reveal them,” said Jacobius.
Customers can also be encouraged to promote the drinks and venue by ensuring any themed cocktails are “Instagram-worthy”, advised Jacobius.
That was echoed by Penman at Ian Macleod Distillers, who said the “Instagrammability” and theatre of serve “will be a huge trend this summer”.
“With one in five consumers saying they post pictures of their cocktails on social media more since the full reopening of hospitality, creating cocktails and serves that have a bit of theatre around them is something we will expect to see massively in 2022,” said Penman.
Outside of cocktails, the quality of the gin itself is likely to be important, with drinks companies predicting strong demand for premium products in the coming months.
Craig Chapman, head of brand at Amber Beverage Group, the company behind Puerto De Indias gin in the UK, said he expected there to be “a significant uplift in the on-trade for gin offerings, particularly at the premium end of the market as consumers look to treat themselves”.
“Premiumisation is a fantastic trend for the trade and hospitality industry to tap into this summer,” said Chapman.
“To get ahead of the curve, my advice would be to ensure you’re stocking a wide range of premium gins, to offer the luxury of choice.”
Nigel Tarn, marketing manager at Fentimans, agreed, saying the various restrictions and lockdowns of the past two years have created “a pent-up demand for socialising and creating memorable moments”.
And he reckoned the trend towards better quality products is even more pronounced in the younger age groups.
“This desire for high quality, experience-led occasions is resulting in increasing trade-ups of drinks to more premium alternatives,” said Tarn.
“Younger adults especially are at the edge of this premium movement, with 26% of 18 to 24 year olds willing to upgrade to a higher quality drink – eight percentage points higher than the all-consumer average.”
Drinks companies advised stocking quality spirits with a clear provenance, with Jacobius at Dunnet Bay recommending “a strong, but not necessarily long, range of gins so that you cover all tastes”.
As the gin category has exploded in recent years, the number of styles on the market has also expanded. From the standard London Dry, licensees can now choose from a wide range of gins that has evolved to include fruit-flavoured spirits and gin liqueurs.
Mike Hayward, co-founder of The Glasgow Distillery – the company behind Makar Gin – reckoned there will be a shift back towards the more traditional styles in the course of this year and beyond.
He said that after what has been “an incredible boom” in flavoured gins and liqueurs, “we are starting to see a return to classic styles, as the consumer revisits old, trusted favourites”.
“London Dry and Old Tom gin styles are increasing in popularity once again,” said Hayward.
“This is a move we expect to see over the coming years as consumers look towards more traditional and trusted variants.”
And educated bar staff will be crucial to making the most out of any venue’s gin range, said Hayward.
“Understand the brands and know the stories behind the product,” he said.
“The consumer is looking to consume more than just a product but rather experience an identity and meaning through their choice of brand.
“Therefore, venues can add to the customer experience by engaging customers with the brand stories and perfect serves.”