Speaking at The Morning Advertiser’s Future Trends: Spirits event in London today (4 October), Diageo's Paul Thomas said that the rise in fruit-flavoured gins and innovative mixers would drive growth not only by bringing consumers into gin but by “bringing people into spirits”.
“Gin is all about hyper provenance and craft,” he said. “People want to hear stories about ingredients and provenance and gin offers consumers a number of different worlds to try on.
“It really taps into the current trend for depth and discovery. People want to try different things every time in the same way as craft beer.”
Opportunity in accessibility
He added: “The flip side to this is the opportunity in accessibility. There are a number of new products being launched that are bringing people to the category earlier. Pink gin is massive now because it is a new, fun and accessible way to drink gin. We’re also seeing gins made with apples, pears and vanilla because gin is so flexible in terms of the botanicals that can be used.”
On the subject of why gin had been so popular in recent years, Thomas said: “The strength of gin is in its versatility. It can be whatever you want it to be; it can have different tonics, garnishes, glasses. In the world of Instagram, you can make some amazing gin-based drinks.”
“Gin also has this wonderful complexity of flavour – people don’t just want something that is easy anymore.”
Thomas also pointed to gin’s gender-neutral image and “inherent maturity” as other factors in the category’s continued popularity.
“It probably isn’t the first drink you try when you turn 18, it takes a more sophisticated palate,” he added.
Super premium thriving
Thomas also predicted that the trend towards premium and super premium within the gin category would continue to thrive, citing the growth in the number of new, small batch products being launched within the category.
“We’ve seen a growth of 18% value year on year within gin, and 43% of that is from premium brands,” he said. “Consumers don’t want to go and drink lots of low-quality gin and mixer.”
“By 2020, we are predicting that super premium will be almost as big as standard in terms of value. This is being driven not by one or two big brands but by lots of smaller distillers. These distillers account for a tiny percentage of total volume but are helping to drive value growth”
Future Trends: Spirits was made possible thanks to headline partners Diageo and Schweppes; associate partner Pernod Ricard; and event partners Warner Edwards, Slingsby Gin and Willis Publicity