With the spotlight being shone on whiskey, tequila and mezcal these days, it can be easy for other spirits to be left in the shadows. Flavored whiskey has been duking it out with flavored vodka. Tequila producers are experimenting with aging, barrels and flavors. Artisanal mezcal distilleries seem to be opening doors daily. All of this is exciting but there are other spirits that are presenting great opportunities for growth. One of these is gin.
During the 2015 Beverage Executive Symposium, Technomic presented the volumetrics related to gin. The first bit of information related to gin actually relates to consumers and spirits in general. Technomic has found that today’s consumer is 32% more knowledgeable about adult beverages than they were over the past 3 years. And compared to just 1 year ago, consumers are spending 31% more on alcohol beverages per occasion. Consumers are doing their research, they know what they want and they’re willing to spend to get it.
Consumers have made their interest in imported gin very clear. This particular category experienced 3.8% growth from 2013 to 2014. One simply has to look at Hendrick’s as an example to know that imported gin has been experiencing a surge in demand. Operators looking to capture these consumers have been putting more gin-based adult beverages on their menus. Such offerings saw an increase of 18% between Q1 of 2014 and Q1 of 2015. Adult beverage offerings as a whole increased by 2.3% during that same timeframe. The fastest growing beverage categories for gin have been classic cocktails, making up 38% of cocktails ordered with gin, and original restaurant creations, making up 36 percent.
The craft cocktail movement is largely responsible for the growth of gin and consumer interest. The unique attributes of gin, interesting infusions with which distillers and mixologists have been experimenting (saffron or rose gin, anyone?), and super premium brands have attracted today’s knowledgeable adult beverage consumer. Flavor pairings are also driving gin, with consumers realizing that the spirit goes well with more than just tonic. Cucumber is obviously popular but gin is also being paired with cranberry, sweet and sour, raspberry, orange, and bitter flavors.
While whiskey has experienced tremendous growth among women, gin is showing itself to be very popular with men. Of consumers purchasing gin-based drinks in contemporary and upscale dining venues, 62% are men. The spirit is also capturing the valuable age group of 21 to 34 year olds: 41% of gin consumers fall into this demographic. The Millennials, it seems, have discovered gin and developed a taste for it.