Gin Spin: March
Gin Foundry takes a keen eyed look at industry news to bring you a snapshot of the best bits the last month has had to offer.
Back in the Fold:
The Office for National Statistics has added the price of gin into its inflation calculations, showing just how closely ingrained the spirit is in the everyday life of Brits.
The update to the ‘basket of goods,’ used to measure the rise and fall of household spend, added 16 new items this year, including bicycle helmets, jigsaws and cough medicine. Explaining the inclusion of our favourite spirit in a report entitled Hipsters, Gin and the Basket of Good, the ONS said: “What was considered a favourite of the middle-aged suburban couple, gin has become the staple of the younger drinker, which coincided with the growth in small gin producers. It has been reintroduced to the Basket after a 13-year absence.”
A proud tear for the UK.
And the Winner is… no one.
Aldi’s gin selection has once again faired well at a blind tasting, earning two silver medals at the International Spirits Challenge; one for its £9.97 Cromwell London Dry Gin and one for its £13.99 Topaz Premium Gin. Both gins came out on top of other, more premium offerings like Hendrick’s and Tanqueray Rangpur.
That the Oliver Cromwell gin keeps coming out on top prompts a question or two. Duty on a 70cl bottle of gin at 37.5% + there’s VAT is over £8.70. This means there is less than £1.50 to make the spirit, bottle it, label it and ship it as well as the producer / retailer making their margin (or not in this case). The production is incredibly stripped back and yet – by all accounts – it’s a good, solid gin.
What this shows is that with their base offerings, supermarkets are putting up a good fight against both craft and premium gins with little thought for end profit. These offering have across the board and not just Aldi’s, become better and better in recent years. We’re curious to see if consumers are poised to realise this and take advantage of the high-quality, low-priced offerings, or whether they’re stuck on the terms ‘small batch’ and ‘premium’.
We’ll be the first to encourage more openness towards supermarket offerings as they are impressively good for the price you pay, but we also do so with caution. The “we’re so cheap and still better” is a dangerous message for the supermarkets to be peddling each year, as the only reason they can afford loss leaders like this is because of the premium end of their on-shelf offering affording them enough margin to do so. They don’t build brands and having a pop at the big boys (which are incidentally their cash cows when it comes to volumes sold across the year) ignores the fact that they don’t invest anywhere near the money in creating the awareness in the category as the brands do in the first place. It is because of the thousands spent by the likes of Hendrick’s and Tanqueray that there is such a diverse category to be enjoyed today and why supermarkets are saw over 14% rises during 2017. It is because of the human endeavor that the likes of Sipsmith, William Chase and Warner Edwards put into production (which deserves to be valued and celebrated as something worth while and therefore reflected in the price), that makes consumers buy into the category. In a race to the bottom, not only will zero value have been placed on the people and the process behind how something is made – ultimately, it will have undermined the very reason it is possible to offer such a cheap, high quality product in the first place.
A New View:
Darnley’s View has had a rebrand, shaking off its surname and slipping into a far slinkier outfit. From now on, the Wemyss Whisky Company’s gin will go by the moniker Darnley’s, and sits in a far more botanically beautiful bottle (one designed to up-sell the brand’s ‘craft feel).
That’s not all… the producer is planning to move distilling in-house, to a speciality distillery right next to its whisky plant. This is a fantastic move – Scotland is the epicentre for Gin in the UK, so giving the product a genuine local accent will help steer it into a wider audience. It’s currently made at Thames Distillers in London, but a move to in-house distilling will help the brand to create a real home for the gin, somewhere fans can connect with. It looks like the Scotland Gin Trail is heating up so best get your summer holidays planned…
One Gin, One World:
Ethical British brand One has launched a craft gin across World Duty Free stores. The One Brand was established by Duncan Goose in 2003 and has already raised over £15m in its fight to bring clean water to everyone.
One Gin, made by Sarah Thompson of the Blackdown Distillery in Sussex, is a 10-botanical mix with botanicals selected from across the world. The local angle comes from sage, which is grown in the forest surrounding the distillery.
Goose explains the move towards gin: “With the UK Gin market making its biggest comeback since Hogarth’s times, it was a natural step for us to broaden our drinks portfolio into this exciting new area, helping to drive our donation power and make a difference to the 663 million people worldwide who don’t have access to clean water.”
The gin will be sold in UK airports from the 3rd April, retailing at £36.99 per litre.
Amongst the loot were aged and crumbling bottles of Gordon’s Gin, which serves as a reminder as to not only the age of the brand, but its importance in Britain’s history. Cheers to that!
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