The Ginfographic 2016 was answered by over 2,000 participants this year. As we remind you each year, the respondents usually err on the side of Gin fans (as to want to take part, you’d need to have an interest). However, having deliberately placed the questionnaire in front of both our readers as well as to a non-gin focused audiences via partners and seen very similar result patterns, we feel this paints an honest picture of what the category is doing and where it’s heading.
Thank you to all who took part in the survey – we really appreciate you taking the time. Your answers help us to create a bank of information for anyone looking to do research in the category and the insight it provides is invaluable to many in the Gin industry. We’ve pawed through the data to provide some insight, and will also be running a follow up article later this year looking even further into the stats.
To download the Ginfographic 2016 in all its glory
On Average how many GIN cocktails do you drink per week?
This year has shown a clear increase in Gin cocktail consumption, with the amount of people drinking over 10 a week creeping up to 11% and people drinking 5 – 10 a week up from 18% to 28%. These stats almost perfectly demonstrate the fact that Gin is becoming an increased presence in drinkers lives. Over the past year we’ve heard lots of anecdotal evidence from shopkeepers, bartenders and everyday drinkers that point to more Gin being consumed (replacing other spirits in baskets) and these numbers seem to support that.
With bar menus getting ever more experimental, cocktail culture is showing no sings of slowing down and as Gin is the most used spirit in the cocktail world, that can only be a good thing for the category.
How many different brands of gin do you own?
The two numbers that shifted the most were at opposite ends of the spectrum – those who own just 1 – 2 bottles increased from 14% to 20%, and those with over 10 bottles rose from 20% to 28%. This leaves room for the number of those in the middle ground to drop off slightly, and throws up a weird anomaly.
We think this is attributable to several factors: 1. There are more new Gin drinkers entering the fray, hence an increase in those with just a couple of bottles (they’ll learn); 2. The ever-growing reverence for Craft Gin means that people simply can’t stop buying new Gins, something that is helped along by small distillers who attend events and meet consumers and do everything they can to make people see the power in supporting small businesses; 3. An increase in the number of active collectors and people who make a hobby of obtaining new Gins.
When you make your own, what is your favourite ratio for a G&T?
We’ve been saying it since the Ginfographic begun – ratio preferences are getting boozier. While the two ends of the spectrum (1 – 1 and 1 – 4 ) remain similar year on year, those in the middle are starting to switch it up. Drinkers taking one part Gin to two parts tonic have swung it this year with 41%, slightly edging the amount of people who take one part Gin to three parts tonic.
We expect this gap to grow over the coming years with even more people in the two parts tonic to one part gin camp. Moreover, with ever-weirder botanicals the talking point of many a Gin, their point is moot if they’re drowned out by a mixer so expect more producers to push in this direction too.
What is your favourite type of glass for a G&T?
Overall there’s no change since 2015, though further insight lies in the geography of our respondents. When comparing Europe to the USA and Australia, the COPA glass is demonstrated to be a uniquely European affair, with less than 2% of those from the other continents stating the glass as a preference. Back on this continent, the glass is favoured by a huge 37%. Will next year see the COPA go global? Probably not, but we expect it to grow in stature across the Euro zone, as well as a few Gin specialist bars in the US adopting it.
What is your favourite Gin cocktail?
No surprises here, with the data much the same as last year. What is interesting to see is that the rise of the Negroni hasn’t continued at the pace everyone was predicting and has plateaued on equal pegging with the Martini. This is especially interesting as (slightly) more bitter drinks are still being favoured by many bartenders while the rise in new Vermouth and Amaro brands continues to flood the market.
It also comes as no surprise that the G&T is the king of gin based concoctions, but looking further into the results by geography it is once again in the US where the interest lies and their thirst for tonic seems to have increased over 2015. Meanwhile, Brambles, Basil Smashes, French 75’s and Aviations seem to making little headway up the charts despite our own anecdotal evidence that they are featuring more frequently on menus in high end bars.
When you order a Gin & Tonic in a bar, do you expect to be asked which Gin you would like?
This proves that the continued trickle down effect from top-end bars is still the way the industry works, with their focus on guest experience and service standards continuing to filter into less exclusive establishments. With this comes the rise in general booze knowledge offered by barkeeps, as well as the amount of Gins they have at their disposal to cater to multiple needs.
More people now expect to be asked about preferences wherever they go (up from 56% in 2015) and we expect this to continue growing over the next 12 months. Perhaps 2017 will also be the year more are asked if they have a garnish preference, as is often the case in Spanish Gin&Tonic bars.
Do you ever ask for a particular Gin brand when you order a Gin & Tonic in a bar?
With a rise in connoisseurship it’s unsurprising to see that more people call out for a specific brand when they order a Gin drink (up from 48% last year). That said, despite an increased understanding of what goes into Gins and a greater interest in botanicals and signature flavours from consumers, fewer people than ever base their decision on flavour profile.
This goes to show that strong brand presence on a back bar and a memorable USP are the two most important assets any Gin maker can have. With more brands competing for shelf space and the rising standard of design work – this is a ruthless battleground that is worth keeping your eyes peeled upon over the next 12 months.
On average, what do you pay for a bottle of Gin?
Despite a huge shift in spending patterns, with the majority now spending in the £30-£40 range, the cliff edge remains as true as ever – price a Gin over £40 and sales will drop drastically. Craft Gin may be more popular than in 2015 and people may be willing to spend a little extra for small, limited and experimental, but the £40 limit seems entrenched year on year.
That £40 barrier is one that should be heeded by all prospective Gin makers – unless aged, Gin is made in a matter of hours, so there’s just no justification for excessive costs, a fact Gin fans know all to well.
In your opinion, is Gin “perceived” as a Male or Female spirit?
This is one of our bi-annual questions and two years on the gender gap has only slightly narrowed. The response, as ever, is that Gin – if anything – is perceived as female, but only by a small margin; 74% of respondents deem the spirit to be neutral.
There is, again, a geographic split in the answers that delivers an interesting piece of insight. In general, 18% thought the spirit to be female and 8% thought the spirit to be male. In America this number is identically reversed.
Do you think there should be a clearly defined set of criteria that distillers must adhere to in order to call themselves a ‘Craft’ Gin?
Last but not least, the craft argument. Despite the hundreds and hundreds of “Craft Gins” that have entered the market helping to educate and present different facets of the argument, it is clear that a majority (almost the same results as last year) would like some form of official definition on what ‘Craft’ Gin is.
‘Craft’ Gin, we suspect, will always be an ambiguous term. It’s not fair to call those who make the big name Gins anything other than craftsmen (and women) as they are unequivocally talented makers, producing delicious spirits at a breakneck pace; to call them ‘non-craft’ is a disservice. If ‘Craft’ Gin is defined by size explicitly, perhaps another term needs to come into force. The debate remains open, the divide in opinions leaving much distance to achieve a common consensus.
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