With 2016 now in full swing, we’ve begun to work away to reach our goals for the year ahead and what we hope might happen over the next 12 months. Rather than bore you with lists of our own ambitions and new year’s resolutions however – we thought we’d focus on something we are trying encourage more of and something anyone can do in order to make a huge difference; conscious consumption.
One thing that strikes us about the Gin category in 2016, is just how much opportunity there is for gin fans to truly explore the breadth of what “gin” can be. As consumers, we’re all in an ideal place to actively shape the future of gin from the ground up. The category is saturated and never before has there been so many producers vying for such little space on shelves. It’s a “buyers market” so to speak and we are all benefiting from this glut of flavours, styles, experiments and characters permeating through juniper-laced spirits all over the world.
10 years ago, gin drinkers couldn’t really influence what they wanted to see more of in the same way as they can today, as there were fewer options to pick from in the first place. The big points of difference between one gin made by a multi-national and another came down to three facts: flavour, packaging and price-point.
Now, there are hundreds of gin makers (small, large, independent and multi-national) making dozens of styles of gin – there is so much more to delve into and to choose to champion.
Some gin makers take a grain to glass approach and do the whole process in-house, others embody the young, adventurous start-up mentality. There are local gins made around the corner, foreign gins imported in from exotic locations and gins that are exact recreations of ancient recipes. Some gins are inextricably linked to charities, whilst there are others gins whose exploratory, progressive makers have you swept off your feet with their audacious experiments.
Whatever you are looking for, both in and beyond the bottle can be found nowadays. Whatever you value, from flavour of the spirit, to spirit of the maker is embodied within the Gin category.
Unfortunately most consumers don’t take enough time to consider this wider picture. When deciding on trying a new brand in a supermarket, many still only compare gins on price point and packaging alone.
It’s a huge shame as we live in an age of information where a veritable abundance of knowledge can be found about the way something is made, by whom, how it all began and what the feel of their company is all about. We hope that 2016 starts to be the year more people shop with this bigger picture in mind.
Each time we buy a bottle of gin, we invest our money in those brands and by doing so, they gain not just by taking our money but also by gaining more power, wealth and influence. Despite this, we still don’t see buying a bottle of gin (or for the most part buying anything) as an investment in a company, let alone a vote.
We know that contemplating the philosophical merits of a gin maker’s attitude versus another’s production method is a big ask whilst standing in the corner of a liquor store (*read never going to happen), but it is important. We all like convenience and will probably buy what is offered to us where we already shop that it is in our budgets and there is nothing wrong with that. However, we must at least try to place a value on something more than just the “end of the line” duo of price point and packaging, which dominate our purchasing decisions. It’s time that we, as consumers, started to accept that each transaction we make is a vote. It is an endorsement of who you support, what you want to see more of and which brand you want to get a bigger market share.
Conscious Consumption as it is known, is growing momentum across the board and we hope that this starts to take hold on the front line of Gin. There is so much to champion, to celebrate and support if one takes the time to discover more about a gin’s origin. We’re believers that real change can happen through the accumulation of all the small choices we all make every day and are sure that people would value what they drank more, if they just took the time to find out a little about the people or process behind it.
The drinks industry is a rare industry in that good guys don’t just win, they do so often. The disingenuous are often shunned and the authentic and characterful products enjoy meteoric rises. Buying one brand over another might seem relatively inconsequential, but please remember that each transaction, each time you add a gin to your basket, is a moment to support the change you want to see and who you want to see benefit from it. So, whatever you choose to drink in 2016, take a second to think about the bigger picture before making your decision.
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