Gin misconceptions ‘have been corrected’ says distiller

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Juniper forward: gin distiller John Smith said the classic G&T isn’t going anywhere
Juniper forward: gin distiller John Smith said the classic G&T isn’t going anywhere

Related tags Gin

The future of gin lies in consumers’ desire for locally sourced products of a high-quality, according to John Smith, head distiller and co-founder of Exmoor Distillery.

The Devon-based company has more than 100 pub stockists, and co-founders John and Nicola Smith hope to be listed with distributors across the country within the next year to expand nationally.

John told The Morning Advertiser​ the drink has seen a democratisation in the past several decades with the industry managing to appeal to many different crowds at the moment.

He said: “I think all the old misconceptions have already been corrected. In my younger days gin was seen as a ‘lady’s drink’, mother’s ruin of old!

“There was a choice of two or three big brands and one well-known tonic, now you only need to sit in any pub to see the difference.

“Gin is appreciated by men and women, young and old alike – and long may the tradition last.”

Consumers are increasingly interested in the origin of the gin they opt for at the pub in addition to premium artisan drinks from further afield, Smith said.

He added: “People are much more discerning about what they buy, about who makes it and where it is produced and about the methods used in production."

Classic legacy 

Although it has been flavoured gins driving growth in the category in recent years, the popularity of traditional dry gin will not go anywhere, Smith predicted.

He explained: “There is such a huge range of gins on the market now that the options for different serves, flavours and garnishes seem almost infinite.

“We find that in the vast majority of the trade outlets we supply, the classic G&T remains the most popular serve – and for good reason.

“A well-produced London dry-style artisan gin should be so full of flavour that when served as a classic G&T the customer experiences a full, satisfying and unique taste.

“A taste that does not need propping up with flavoured tonics or unusual garnishes.”

He added that “flavoured gins though do have their place,” and said his distillery was experimenting with ingredients to introduce a flavoured gin to its range of Northmoor Gin and Northmoor Navy Strength Gin in the future.

Juniper reigns 

John explained: “The problem with a lot of flavoured gins is that often there is no hint of juniper in the taste. Some would argue ‘is it really a gin?’

“With that in mind and with an eye always on quality, any flavoured gins we market will retain the juniper forward taste while being flavoured in a way that complements but does not overpower the overall taste.”

A report released by the Wine & Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) this week has shown that gin category in the on-trade increased, with sales worth more than £1.5bn in the past 12 months.

It found the drink had grown by 51% in volume and 52% in value and, despite rum being on the up and set to receive more growth in the next year, this has not been at the detriment of gin.

Related topics Spirits & Cocktails

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