The inspiration for this game came from Mark Jennings‘ post challenge on facebook questioning gin buyers, fans, journalists, experts and amateurs on which words they hate to see on a new gin bottle label (or press release). On this post I have captured a summary of the contributions made in response, and therefore the source for the words of our new gin bingo game…

Clearly this is just a bit of fun, although the underlying sentiment is a genuine one of an increased demand for transparency from new Gin brands and brand owners. It is about substance and not just style as captured by one of the comments made:

“Long inspiration back-stories about mythical creatures and picturesque places of origin and complicated lists of botanicals without information on how that corresponds to flavour, mouthfeel, aroma. In fact, any bottle that includes loads of information but very little about flavour, lack of serving suggestions and nothing about the distillate.”

The New Gin Brand Bingo Game rules are simple: just score off any of the words associated with the new gin brand or variant being released. The words picked for the game were:

Craft
Fluffy origin story
Unique
Provenance (despite having none)
Hand foraged botanicals
a combination of Tradition and Innovation
Small batch, handmade and premium
Secret botanicals
Special blend

If anyone manages to get to full house then please let me know! That would be quite an achievement….

Other comments from those responding to Mark’s facebook post challenge on what they do not want to see:

“Large fluffy stories of origin. I just want to know where it was made, not why”

“Craft or Hand-crafted. Obvious one. But people who generally just aren’t honest with the backstory/production too.”

“I know many detest claims of a product being unique, or mention of shades of uniqueness (it’s either unique or it’s not. Very/quite/extremely not necessary).

“Compounded gins trading as distilled. Macro gins trading as ‘craft’. Any thing foraged. Hand distilled FFS! Narrative over substance, provenance, quality.”

“Provenance when the product has ZERO provenance”.

“Hand foraged botanicals”.

“A combination of tradition and innovation”.

“Small batch, handmade and premium”.

“Secret” botanicals _one_ more time. Special Blend too.”

“Our Master Distiller…’ who’s actually been distilling for 2 years….Please literally shove that up your…..*insert choice of expletive* They’re a ‘Head Distiller’, but certainly not a ‘Master Distiller’.”

“Make the label clear, where it is distilled, bottled, flavours etc added. Was very disappointed when I found out a favourite “Scottish” gin was made in England then “botanicals” added in Scotland.”

“Oh and one other thing that drives me mental, freebies to “influencers” and endless competitions. Be brave and try it on the drinker who doesn’t expect to get things for free. Sorry influencers!”

“The word ‘botanicals’ might be associated with gin and cosmetics, but it’s just freaking plant products. Tell us the plant you’re using, any particularities in the processing of the gin, and the way to serve/mix. I had some sheep whey gin last week. It had a white chalk label on a black matte bottle saying ‘Sheep’s whey gin’. Then there were some tiny notes saying it had been made with some Aussie plants and to serve with tonic. It did the job.”

The final comment perfectly summarises what those interested in Gin and the category are looking for when looking at a new product launch….

“All I want is people to at least mention their process, still sizes and some of the botanicals to me, in some shape or form. What’s the base made from? What botanicals do you add to your neutral spirit? Where do you source them from, where do you do the rectification? Should be basic information.

And an address for where it’s made (where it is actually made, not where you’d like people to think it is made, not a place it is inspired by). That’s it really.

Interested in Gin?

If you want to know more, why not check these previous Inside the Cask Blog postings:

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