Another year has flown by and what a year it was! Both for gin as a whole and also for my more personal gin pursuits. It has, on the whole, been an outstanding year for the industry with sales reaching an all-time high and gin being declared the most popular spirit in the UK. But, with the highs of sales in excess of 47m bottles of gin, came the inevitable lows as people looked to sell out and cash in. The wonderful gin community rallied though and, desperate to protect our sacred spirit, the #StopFuckingWithGin hashtag was born! While The Pool asked if the gin joke had gone too far, and Gin Monkey – rightly – reminded us to use the hashtag with due respect, there were plenty of offenders who deserved little sympathy – such as gin and tonic tea bags, crisps and, quite possibly the worst of them all, G&T fun buns!
2016 has earned itself a pretty damning reputation and, largely, with good reason. But, politics and celebrity deaths aside, it hasn’t been all bad. And for gin it’s been pretty bloody good! Approximately 50 new distilleries opened last year, contributing to a total production of 528 million litres of gin and resulting in sales of over £1billion for the first time. The rise and rise of small-batch craft gin was the theme of the year, but the big story came right at the end, when the founders of the craft gin renaissance, Sipsmith, were sold to Beam Suntory, the world’s third-largest spirits company (and owner of Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Teacher’s and Courvoisier), for a reported £50million. Other significant deals included the sale of Spencerfield Spirit Company, producers of Edinburgh Gin, to Ian Macleod Distillers, and Liverpool Gin to Halewood International, the makers of Lambrini.