Has the gin bubble burst?

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Has gin fallen out of favour with consumers?

Related tags Gin Gin and tonic Spirits Cocktail Cocktails Alcoholic beverage mixers Pubs

After what has seemed like a never-ending boom, it looks like the rapacious consumer demand for gin appears to be tailing off.

Since I started covering the trade nearly seven years ago, the conversation of “when will the gin bubble burst” has been a regular one, but up until recently, it was still showing no signs of going pop.

Until now.

Stats from CGA show total sales of gin are down by almost a third, dropping a massive 38.5% when compared with the same period in 2019.

While there’s some minor resurgence in flavoured gins, and premium flavoured gins, is it now safe the say the gin renaissance is over?

Have consumers finally got bored of the classic gin and tonic?

The explosion in gin was fuelled by savvy marketing, the launch of premium mixers, most famously Fever Tree, and deregulation which allowed everyone with a spare bathtub the opportunity to create their own “craft” gin.

That combination saw a once rather neglected product catapulted to the front ranks of the back bar, and taking on a starring role in pubs across the nation as operators competed to see who could offer the broadest range of gins for ever eager customers.

Bubble bursting

Naturally, all good things must end, and it looks like, despite constant predictions on a rolling basis of that bubble bursting, it was finally the pandemic that has curtailed the gin gravy train.

CGA’s Tom Quinn points to the fact that now customers are free to roam once more, they’re looking for more complicated drinks experiences when they’re out on the tiles. A gin and tonic is quite easy to knock up in a lock down, a fancy cocktail less so. Price will also be a factor - with wallets being squeezed, those pricey gin and tonic menus may start to appear a little less of value to customers looking to eek the most out of their leisure spend.

So should operators be slinging out the gin bottles and beefing up the cocktail offer?

I wouldn’t be too hasty - the gin market is still worth a whopping £1,042.7m (and 66p probably) and while it may not be flying as high it will still remain an important part of the mix for customers and a strong core offer will still be important.

What, if anything will fill the void that gin leaves behind? There’s long been talk of rum being the next big thing, but as yet, it’s failed to materialise, and with consumer concerns focused on managing the increased cost of living, perhaps it’ll be some time before we see another drinks bubble starting to grow.

Related topics Spirits & Cocktails

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