Miranda Hayman and James Hayman from Hayman Distillers, have recently launched a campaign that was displayed at the Imbibe Live bartender show that took place in July, calling time on “fake gin”…so what is the fuss all about?
Firstly, in terms of context, it is worth noting that the gin category continues to grow, with UK gin exports reaching £530m in 2017, with an increase of 12% in value and 7% in volume terms. The UK also continues to be the largest exporter of gin in the world with key markets being the USA and Europe (especially Spain).
This continued increase in demand has led to many new entrants and brands into the category, whether the product is a distilled gin, a compounded or non-distilled product labelled as gin. Gin-based liqueurs have also been popular, with more brands releasing a low-abv, flavoured liqueur at a low price, especially with new consumers to the category which may even think of it as gin. Interestingly, 60% of UK gin makers have not yet reached their 3rd birthday which just shows how many new entrants are joining in the bandwagon…
The Gin Foundry, the home of gin online, has written a really interesting article on the risk posed by some of these new entrants on the overall quality perception and future of the gin category – click here for the article.
“It is not a new issue, mind, but the rate at which they are now being slung out onto the market is killing the category. Crappy gins have always existed and were always being launched, but proportionately, they were closer to one in ten back in 2015. In 2018, our opinion is that that’s much closer to one in every five” Gin Foundry
Unlike Scotch whisky and its clearly defined production methods and lengthy ageing process, the barrier to entry for the Gin category is low which makes it an enticing opportunity, especially in the short to medium term for the new distilleries looking at gin to generate cash flow before the market place becomes saturated.
A predominant juniper flavour – from the juniper seeds (pictured above) – is the standard for the Gin category, however this is not always being met with new releases containing little or no juniper character and being overshadowed by more powerful flavourings.
“The renaissance of gin could damage the category. It does not need gimmickry. The renaissance has to be true to the style. The ‘new wave’ gins can cause great confusion. It is dangerous if we confuse people.” James Hayman
James Hayman, the fifth-generation owner of Hayman’s Gin, is calling on like-minded industry leaders, including distillery and brand owners, to discuss creating an association to govern and enforce gin regulations and he is inviting everyone to sign their campaign manifesto (below).
Jane Ryan at Imbibe.com has also written online on ‘how gin lost its mind’ – click here for the article.
“Some of them, however, I would say are not gins, the juniper is not just ‘not forward’, it’s not there. They’re fruit liqueurs or fruit vodkas – and I think they work for the type of consumer who wants the coolness of the gin category but who don’t like the flavour of gin.” Jake Burger, Portobello Road Gin (pictured below)
The campaign started by Hayman’s originally in April this year, is looking to bring the many voices of the industry together. They are launching the first of a series of Gin Debates to share perspectives from all parts of the industry on the topic: ‘What is gin – and how can we protect it?’
The debate will take place at their London distillery on the 6th of September, from 10am-4pm and the debate sets out to establish the common ground needed for meaningful industry-wide action on the issue of ‘Fake Gin’ to take place. It is open to anyone with an interest in protecting the gin category for the future and will feature discussions facilitated by a neutral third party as well as guest speakers from other parts of the drinks industry.
If you are interested in attending the inaugural Gin Debate on 6th September simply email [email protected] to book your place.
For the full ‘Call Time of Fake Gin’ campaign website – click here for the link.