So it’s been yet another month of ups and downs ending in more tiers than ever, but nevertheless I hope you’ve managed to have a peaceful and happy Christmas. If you’ve been, understandably, burying your head in the sand lately, read on for some booze news you may have missed.
Congratulations to all the winners of The Spirits Business Awards 2020, which like everything else went virtual this year, but especially to Cooper King winner of the Distillery Sustainability award, Bullards Gin who claimed Innovation in Packaging and Manchester Gin who won Best Distillery Consumer Experience.
In a year of (not many) ups and (far too many) downs, WSTA reported that UK on-trade closures have seen gin sales fall by £400m. The silver lining comes in the form of some brands, such as No. 3, seeing sales soar and off-trade gin sales in the UK exceeding £1bn for the first time. But perhaps 2020 still gets the last laugh when you realise off-trade sales were led by flavoured variants, of which sales are up 31% on 2019…
Finally, the US Treasury Department’s Tax and Trade Bureau has published new regulations allowing more container sizes for distilled spirits, including 1.8l, 900ml and 720ml. The change will also allow the EU standard 700ml bottle to be legally imported for sale which should prove positive for UK exports and international distribution. However, with no 700ml bottles currently made in the US, importing glass from the EU could prove both costly and time-consuming for US producers. And who knows what impact Brexit may yet have…
New Gin Alerts
It seems to have been a pretty quiet month for gin releases but there have been a few that have caught my eye. Top of the list has to be the Four Pillars and Kyoto Distillery collaboration Changing Seasons Gin, featuring both Australian and Japanese botanicals, which has recently hit UK shores. Her Majesty has also released Sandringham Celebration Gin and one of my all-time favourites, Liverpool’s Turncoat Distillery, has added Quisling Pink Gin to their range. Last but certainly not least is Ginout; a collaboration between Capreolus Distillery‘s Barney Wilczak and his Portuguese friend and cake designer Catia Mesquita, Ginout is truly esoteric and Barney through and through! Described as the only gin to be aged inside-out, Ginout is distilled with peony flowers, olive oil and fig leaves, rested in tawny and ruby port barrels and macerated with cork roasted to varying toast levels.
My Month in Gin
It’s been a pretty quiet month on the gin front but I have nonetheless loved opening my two gin advent calendars, donning my Chase knitwear for Christmas Jumper Day and even crafting a couple of gin-themed Christmas tree decorations!
Welcome to My Collection
So I kind of have a rule about not entering gin competitions but I couldn’t resist buying a few tickets for the Victory London raffle and could not believe my luck when I won! I am now the very lucky owner of Victory Cold Distilled Gin, Bitter, Vodka, Pink Gin, Olive Oil Vodka and Victory x Vault Champagne + Oysters Vermouth!
I have also very gratefully received Bathtub Gin and their stunning enamel mug, Lebanon’s The Three Brothers Limited Edition Wood-Kissed Gin, India’s Hapusā Dry Gin, Thunderflower’s new FireShip 58 Navy Strength Gin and the outstanding Ginout with a few lovely extras from Capreolus Distillery‘s Barney including their beautiful new book.
Thanks also for all my Christmas gifts including the Chase Distillery Christmas jumper, Barra Atlantic Gin crackers, 12 Wolves of Xmas Lone Wolf gin advent calendar and the super cute Elephant Gin pin. And thanks to me for my little Christmas present to myself; a Hendrick’s flying cucumber gin pin and mini!
Catching Up and Looking Forward
If you’re looking for some festive cocktails to enjoy on New Year’s Eve (or beyond) go ahead and check out my Midwinter Mixology recipes. And for a little fun, why not play my Never Have I Ever Gin Edition game and see if you can beat my score of 19/20? As for looking forward, who knows what 2021 will bring? It will probably include my top ten gins of 2020 but, until then, let’s just all cross our fingers and toes that it’s better than this year! 🍸🛎🛎