March was, quite frankly, mental. With one panel to host, three articles to write and seven or eight days of judging, I was already struggling to keep on top of it all before covid finally got me after two whole years. In fact, given one of my articles was a few days late and this gin monthly is even later, it is quite apparent I didn’t entirely keep on top of everything! Anyway, better later than never as they say. Here’s what I can still remember from that whirlwind of a month…
It was a mixed month of news. WSTA reported a recovery in the category with UK gin sales reaching £2.1bn in 2021 and it was also heartening to hear that Diageo India have invested in Nao Spirits, producer of Greater Than and Hapusa gins. However, following last month’s news that both 3 Pugs and Duck and Crutch Gin have called it a day, March has also seen MARY – a low-alcohol low-calorie spirit – enter liquidation.
In more positive news, The IWSC celebrated its biggest spirits awards so far with over 4,000 entries. It was great to see gin continue to dominate too, accounting for more than 1,200 of the entries and taking home 15% of the year’s Gold and Gold Outstanding medals. The full results can be found here but particular congratulations must go to The Copeland Distillery who won the Contemporary Gin Trophy for their Irish Gin, Junimperium Distillery who took home the Flavoured Gin Trophy for their Sloe Gin and Opihr who claimed the London Dry Gin Trophy for their Aromatic Bitters Gin. Well done also to Seppeltsfield Road Distillers and Mt. Uncle Distillery who both achieved an amazing 99 points for their Barossa Shiraz 2021 Gin and Botanic Australis Navy Strength Gin respectively.
New Gin Alerts
There’s been no shortage of new releases either. Withers Gin have released their export strength G Force which comes in at a tasty 47% ABV and Eden Mill have collaborated with chef Gordon Ramsay to create his eponymous gin inspired by the rivers, lochs, and landscape of Scotland. Also hailing from Scotland are Hendrick’s new Neptunia Gin created to capture the magic of the sea and Beinn An Tuirc’s Isle of Gigha Coastal Gin created to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the island’s community buy-out. Australia’s Four Pillars have also added a Fresh Yuzu Gin to their core collection – meaning it will make it over to this side of the world – and Silent Pool have released a limited edition gin in a stunning new bottle to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s II’s Platinum Jubilee.
My Month in Gin
My month kicked off with a fabulous five days of judging everything from liqueurs to vodkas for The IWSC. It was definitely hard work (especially with two days of tube strikes to contend with) but also a huge amount of fun with the highlight definitely being shortlisted for IWSC’s Emerging Talent in Spirits Communication Award! Congratulations to Gabrielle Pharms who went on to win the trophy.
After 5 days at The IWSC, I thoroughly enjoyed a day off the booze chairing a panel for The Tonic & Mixers Masters 2022 on International Women’s Day. We worked our way through a rainbow of drinks but it was Double Dutch who deservedly won the Taste Master award for their delicious Ginger Beer.
And, as if that wasn’t enough judging (I think it may have been!), I also had the pleasure of judging the Spiced and Sloe categories, in addition to Environmental and Sustainability, for The Gin Guide Awards 2022 from the comfort of my own home. Finalists will be announced on Wednesday 20th April, with the winners announced on Wednesday 4th May, so be sure to keep an eye out for the results.
Last (I think!) but not least, I had the huge honour of hosting a panel – including Jonny from Warner’s, Annabel from Nc’nean and Russ from Two Drifters Rum – on B Corp certification for spirits as part of David T Smith’s Crafdi Online Distilling Conference which will take place from 25th-27th April.
Welcome to My Collection
What a haul this month! Thank you to the lovely Barb – who I caught up with at The IWSC – for a bottle of her Edelwhite Winter Gin, to Sarah at Withers Gin for a bottle of her new G Force Gin and to Atom Brands for their brilliant Bathtub Gin Grapefruit and Rosemary. Thanks also to Retribution Distilling Co. for both their regular and navy strength gins, to Tongue in Peat for their Peat Smoked Tomato Juice, to Thunderflower for their new Elder Bay Blush Gin and Negroni 58 pin and last, but certainly not least, to Campari Group for their very generous gift to celebrate my IWSC shortlisting!
I also couldn’t resist finally picking up a Victory Bitter refill can (which I have yet to open!), a couple of pins off eBay which caught my eye, and Dima’s Vodka’s stunning cocktails in aid of Ukraine and savelife.in.ua.
Up and Looking Forward
If you missed it, don’t forget to check out this year’s #GinADayMay prompts and start planning your content. As for April, there are some very exciting launches to look forward to as well as the Crafdi Online Distilling Conference, including a live Q&A on B Corp certification hosted by yours truly. See you again soon! 🍸🛎🛎