Blimey. Whether it’s been celebrating birthdays and weddings, or stressing about secondary school applications and sibling rivalry, I’ve certainly had plenty of excuses for being driven to drink this month. And amongst all that there was International Gin and Tonic Day and a certain Yard of Gin too!
The big news of the month might come as a surprise to many who may have assumed that gin was already the biggest selling spirit in the UK. Actually vodka still holds that crown but, if the growth rates revealed in the William Grant & Sons’ Trending 2020 report continue, gin could overtake vodka as the biggest category by June next year. However it’s not all good news for us juniper-loving purists as, according to The Nielsen Corporation (a global provider of market research and analysis), flavoured gins now account for over a third of all off-trade gin sales, and far from them offering a gateway to traditional dry gins, flavoured gins seem to be simply becoming a huge sub-category of their own.
In happier news, congratulations to Masons who have announced that, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, they will soon be creating their gin in-house again when they move into their own custom-built distillery following the awful fire that destroyed the brand’s home in April. Determined to make the best of a bad situation, Masons are seizing the opportunity to not only create a space that works for them from a production side, but also offers a new visitor experience too so make sure you watch their space!
Commiserations meanwhile to GlenWyvis, Scotland’s only community-owned distillery, who suffered a fire in their biomass wood-chip storage which was ablaze for over 24 hours. Thankfully, the fire remained contained and didn’t spread to the attached distillery. The cause of the fire appears to remain unknown but GlenWyvis have publicly thanked Scottish fire and rescue and confirmed a full investigation will be carried out in due course.
Finally, Craft Gin Club are offering consumers the opportunity to invest in their business by launching a mini-bond which, it is hoped, will raise £2 million to fund the next stage of the business’s development. There is a minimum investment of £500 for the four-year initial term bond which will offer investors a return in either cash interest, gin boxes or a combination of both.
New Gin Alerts
First mention has to go to Cuckoo Solace Gin; the launch of which has already raised a staggering £24k for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. The juniper-rich gin, which also features rosemary, lemon thyme, olives and grapefruit, was made to show gratitude for the support Liz Long, wife of Master Distiller and Director Mark Long, received when she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cervical cancer in January. Having watched a friend fight the same battle as Liz (and thankfully, like Liz, go on to live cancer-free) I know just how vital it is to raise awareness of cervical cancer (and the importance of women attending their cervical screening tests) so if we can help just a little bit by buying a bottle of gin all the better. And congratulations to Liz, and everyone at Cuckoo, for their incredible fundraising efforts!
The other gins that caught my eye this month include the beautiful bottles of The Lakes Classic Gin and Ealing Gin. I’ve long been a fan of Campfire Gin so I’m also excited by their 1594 release; a collaboration with The Box Moor Trust – a charity which has been re-introducing juniper to the area around Hemel Hempstead – in celebration of their 425th anniversary. 1594 Spirit of Box Moor Gin is a classic London Dry style gin and the first ever to be made using local Hertfordshire juniper. I’ve also heard great things about Darnley’s Smoke and Zest Gin – featuring Fife-grown barley smoked over pine wood chips, rowanberry, coriander, orange peel and Lapsang Souchong tea – and would love to try it in a Negroni!
Last, and possibly least, Amazon has unveiled its first own-label spirit; Tovess Single Batch Crafted Dry Gin. While they deserve praise for their openness about the fact that the gin is third-party distilled at Langley Distillery, there seems to be little evidence to suggest it is worth the £24.99 price tag. It could, however, well be the first of many more to come from the behemoth of internet shopping.
My Month in Gin
I’ve had a very busy month, but my month in gin has been relatively quiet, so here’s a couple of pictures of how I celebrated International Gin and Tonic Day and Halloween!
Welcome to My Collection
With the Rugby World Cup reaching its climax this weekend, what better time to receive a bottle of Get Busy Living Gin; a collaboration between Brentingby Gin and The Matt Hampson Foundation. Paralysed from the neck down following an accident in 2005 during an England Under-21 rugby training session, Matt (better known to some as Hambo) set up the Foundation to provide support and advice to others suffering similar serious injuries through sport. Made to Matt’s personal taste, and emblazoned with the Foundation’s ethos across the bottle, Get Busy Living Gin is described as “a beautiful expression of blackberry and blueberry notes”.
It is, of course, also the perfect time for Griffiths Brothers new Autumn Special Gin. Featuring 15 botanicals – including honey, rose hips, oranges, lavender, hibiscus, raspberry leaf and citra hops – with each one individually cold-distilled, this is an intriguingly complex gin with warming spices alongside notes of honey and orange blossom. I was also delighted to receive Lumber’s Bartholomew Country Garden Gin, described as a floral gin tamed by a delicate dry herbal finish, and Hayman’s Spiced Sloe Gin – a limited edition release created by combining their True English Sloe Gin with warming spices including cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and star anise.
And I also received a Yard of Gin. Yes, you read that right. Say hello to the world’s first Yard of Gin from those clever folk at Tipplebox. Beautifully packaged and containing 10 gin – and 2 gin liqueur – miniatures from 8 of the country’s finest distilleries, this is what every gin lover has been waiting for. Just try to make sure you’re in when it gets delivered: walking half a mile with a yard of gin is no easy feat, trust me!
Catching Up and Looking Forward
I did it, I did it! I finally finished my review of Theodore Pictish Gin! It’s a jolly interesting and complex gin too, so please do give it a read. As for next month, November will bring with it the first rounds of the World Gin Awards tastings (which I luckily get to undertake in the comfort of my own home), a gin social at Subplot 57 and a very exciting gin launch too. My lips are firmly sealed on that last one though so you’ll have to keep an eye on my social channels to find out more… Until next time! 🍸🛎🛎