Gin Spin: November Round-Up
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.
Portobello Gin’s The Distillery is set to open on the 16th December. Situated in an old pub in Portobello Road, West London, the four-floor establishment will be a glittering tribute to the Portobello brand.
The ground floor will play host to The Resting Room, a pub replete with barrels of ageing spirits, alongside a very specific wine menu. The first floor will transform into a Spanish bar and tapas restaurant called GinTonica, which will seize upon Spain’s copa de balon gin culture with a vast array of gins, tonics and garnishes. On the second floor there will be meeting rooms, as well as tasting rooms for private parties and on the third floor are the guest rooms. Though The Distillery is being widely reported as a gin hotel, it offers only three rooms, put in place mainly to help those taking part in the Ginstitue rest their weary, gin-tired heads.
The distillery itself is being constructed in the basement, while the all important Ginstitue is joining the Resting Room on the ground floor. The Ginstitute has been a hugely profitable venture for Portobello Road; it’s been sold out for every session, and is presently booked out until March 2017. The experience is an all-round gin education that culminates in attendees creating their own gins. The Distillery will give Portobello Road the chance to grow this – to hold more sessions, educate more people and perhaps even evolve the experience into something a little more comprehensive.
We’ve been down to the site a few times throughout the build and it really does promise to be something special. Perhaps the only blemish that hasn’t been confirmed nor denied yet is that it seems unlikely (due to the unit costs and bottling infrastructure possible over at Thames) that the distilling of their flagship gin Portobello Road Gin will actually come in-house any time soon. More on this to follow…
In a move that certainly has our curiosity piqued, Davos Brands has acquired Aviation Gin from House Spirits Distillery for an undisclosed sum. Davos has handled sales and marketing for the Aviation brand for the last two years, so – when it already has access to the gin – why has it bought it out? And vice versa, while House Spirits has its routes to markets so well established on a brand that is flourishing with such a successful distributor, why has it chosen to divest? Especially given that it will continue to distil Aviation… They say it is to focus on Whiskey, but the distance they are placing (either deliberately or clumsily) between them and the brand (while repeatedly stating they will just a be production facility for it), would suggest there’s much more to this story than currently being reported. Answers on a postcard please…
We’re seemingly unable to stop talking about Antipodean gins at the moment, but it’s been a lot of fun watching gin reach behemoth status in Australia and New Zealand. In November, NZ based Sacred Spring released the country’s first barrel aged gin. Sacred Spring Barrel Aged Gin was rested at 52.5% in a rum barrel and a highly charred oak barrel, before being blended and bottled at 48% ABV. Inevitably, the gin has taken on rum qualities and a mellow, yellow hue.
This is proof, if proof were needed, that the market is growing and evolving; we’re about to enter a mad wave of fruit gins in Europe, so we’re excited to see what the twist on that will be down under.
Talking of the land down under… Pinkster Gin has made some great moves on the Australian stage, having appointed Dan McPherson as general manager within the market. It’s clear to see that Pinkster is building momentum over there, thanks in part to the sheer expense of raspberries in Oz…
Elephant Gin has furthered its philanthropic stance with the release of its 2016 Sloe Gin. Limited version’s of this year’s edition come wrapped in Massai tribe beads, which can be unravelled and used as a necklace or bracelet. The Massai tribe work closely to safeguard elephants, so teaming up with them was a natural step for the ever generous brand. Elephant Sloe Gin is not quite sloe as we know it, with less sugar and a tarter berry in the mix.
Foxhole Spirits has just released Foxhole Gin, a gin from which the base spirit is made from the by-product of English wine. At £40 for a 70cl bottle it’s not cheap, but it’s certainly offering something new to the category. Gin made from a wine base is still relatively rare in itself, but it is the ethical standpoint of the brand that interests us.
Founder James Oag-Cooper said: “As a company, we want to promote sustainability across the drinks industry and reduce industry waste. This process provides Foxhole in with a production method that is unique and not currently used for any other gin produced in the UK.”
Other new additions to UK shores has been the long awaited Puddingstone Distillery offering – Campfire Gin, French brand Citadelle’s Old Tom variant and Boodles Mulberry liqueur. The latter demonstrates two things in particular: 1. While the UK is transfixed on fruit infusions, sloe gins are less popular than ever, with a wide variety of liqueur’s now on offer 2. Mark’s & Spencer getting serious abut their gin offering has created a massive amount of pressure on distilleries to produce them an exclusive offering in order to secure a listing (as was the case with Sipsmith and their Lemon Drizzle Gin).
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