The gin revival is nothing new to the on-trade with many outlets extending their offering in recent years but the latest findings from the market research group show that more than two in five (42%) Brits aged between 18 and 34 have drunk gin in the past 12 months compared to just over a quarter (27%) of over-45s.
Mintel research shows that younger drinkers, in particular, should help boost sales of gin to more than £1bn for the first time in 2015 (£1.04bn), up by 25% since 2012 when sales stood at £829m. The on-trade alone is expected to account for £600m of gin sales this year.
Gin value sales in the pub, bar and restaurant sectors account for 57% of total revenue along with the channel's 24% value growth since 2013 - far outstripping the off-trade rate of 13%.
Perhaps more tellingly, both vodka and white rum have seen on-trade values decline during the 2013-15 period, underlining how strongly gin is resonating with out-of-home drinkers.
Brits are expected to drink 29 million litres of gin in 2015, with one third having drunk it within the past year. For the on-trade, a number of factors have helped drive this growth such as its increasingly versatile use by bartenders, the popularity of craft gins, along with gin-dedicated pubs and bars, some of which are reviving the Victorian 'Gin Palace' moniker.
"The strong performance of gin continues to stand out within the spirits market and is widely seen as the most sophisticated type of white spirit by category users," Chris Wisson, senior drinks analyst at Mintel, said
"I think the growth has really come about because the category is doing a lot of things better than it used to. More venues are serving gins in balloon glasses and with specific garnishes, not to mention selling alongside premium mixer brands.
"An improved range has obviously also encouraged consumers to explore the category more widely too. All of these factors have helped to really enhance the image of the category and make it seem a lot more progressive and fashionable than it used to be."
This, compared to just over half of white spirit and RTD drinkers believing gin to be an older person's drink, the time is now for the spirit to undergo a change of perception.
"One of gin's sobriquets is 'Mother's Ruin' and the drink still has certain associations with older drinkers, contributing to it being likely to be seen as an older person's drink and the least likely as a young person's drink. However, our research indicates that gin is, in fact, now most likely to be drunk by younger consumers, suggesting that it has a chance to forge a dynamic image and move into even more innovative areas," Wisson added.
While 60% of people in the UK drink white spirits, with 17% drinking four or more types, volume sales of white spirits and RTDs have stagnated in the past four years. However, Mintel forecasts that gin sales will continue to rise and reach £1.31bn by 2020, which could be just the... ahem, tonic the sector needs.