Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Long Read: Gin's return as a sophisticated mature version of itself

Published:  29 April, 2021

Brits have welcomed the resurgence of gin with gusto, and while the market has been inundated with brands, flavours, colours, styles, bottle designs and fashionable labels, we’re now seeing a desire for classic, original, well-made gins – a return to gin, as it should be.   

It’s as if gin has had its wild party days, and is now coming back home as a more sophisticated, mature version of itself.  Matt Ashton-Melia, sales director at Langley’s Gin, shares his insights into the  buoyant British gin category, explaining why traditional and elegant gin styles are coming back to the fore, and why price and purpose are more important than ever. 


In the best possible taste 

Gin has established itself as a ‘must stock’ for retailers and bars up and down the country. The pandemic has further cemented gin’s place as a ‘go to’ spirit and seen it take more space on-shelf in retail and on back bars than ever before.  

Although there have been repeated predictions that the ‘gin craze’ will slow, we’re still waiting for that to take effect. It’s true that gin drinkers have  enjoyed experimenting with an array of brands, flavours  and expressions for years, bu twe’re reaching  a stage where consumers are  overwhelmed with the choice on offer, and they’re looking to get under the skin of what they’re drinking.  

We’re seeing something of a ‘flavour fatigue’ too, with consumers opting for brands that offer high-quality, classic gin styles, rather than trendy flavours, syrupy sweet liqueurs, and gimmicky botanical blends.  

Consumer education and understanding of gin and how it’s produced is surprisingly advanced and drinkers care about the ingredients, production process and are looking for substance over style in their next choice of gin. They do their own research, take part in gin webinars and tastings, investigate and experiment with different gin styles, to the point that many gin fans now understand and recognise the difference between London Dry, Old Tom and Navy Strength styles.  

This can only serve to raise the standards in gin production and bring back the traditional, classic styles that led to the category’s resurrection in the first instance –  well-balanced, high quality gin they can trust.


The price is right  

Gin remains an incredible driver of profit across the drinks sector, providing more value than any other spirit this last year. The reality is people are drinking less, but when they do drink, they’re opting for better quality products at a higher price point, which we embrace. It’s a positive to be encouraged, and will drive brand owners to produce better quality products, using more sophisticated methods. 

However, it’s important to note that the price elasticity of gin might be challenged at some stage as consumers become more discerning in their gin choices and the true effects of the pandemic on people’s disposable income are realised.  


Good things come  

Consumers are increasingly tuned into how brands behave and what they stand for – and they buy into them as a result. It’s important to support brands that are looking ahead and striving to be a better, positive force and give something back to the community – whether that be animal welfare,  conservation projects, protecting the environment or pushing the boundaries when it comes to sustainability. 

Stocking gin brands that offer customers the ability to buy into being a force for good will help retailers and bars upgrade their offering and position themselves as a destination for great drinks brands, doing great work. Consumers are willing to pay extra for brands that stand for much more than  what’s  in the bottle. Such brands come with the opportunity to engage shoppers in their stories and the feel-good factor of contributing to positive change. 

Rethinking your spirits offering to harness this interest in purpose-led brands will prove to be a powerful upsell opportunity and bring consumers in for the long-term. 


Looking ahead 

By nature, the gin category is adventurous, lively, and in touch with what the consumer wants. In our view, there’s room for all – including those that sit at its backbone as keepers of the category’s core expressions, with the quality credentials to keep consumers coming back for more.  

Loyalty can be an issue, as some consumers tend to hop from brand to brand, but there are opportunities to lock them in for the long-term with a top-quality liquid, at a price they can afford, and by bringing something more meaningful to their drinking experience.   

We expect demand for unflavoured gin to continue as the trend for at-home drinking is set to stay, and  as lockdown restrictions ease, group and family gatherings in the home will certainly call for gin – for cocktails, spritzes, summer punches and for the all-important  classic  gin and tonic.