The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2013

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Page 94 of 152

IT'S GIN-UARY! Is Back In SEXY NEW OFFERINGS EXPAND THIS SOPHISTICATED CATEGORY by Geoffrey Kleinman H ow well the gin category is doing depends on how you look at the numbers. Overall gin volume actually declined in 2011 by 1.7% (according to DISCUS) and the 2012 numbers are trending in the same direction. It would be easy to look at these numbers and write off gin as a struggling category with small annual gains or losses that never really goes anywhere. It's when you begin to really dig into the numbers that you see the real story of what's happening in gin: While the volume of gin sold may be decreasing, the total dollar volume is on the rise. When you break things out, the upper end of the gin category, the premium and ultra-premium gins, are seeing doubledigit growth. Beyond growth, the higher end of the gin category has begun to see a level of excitement and engagement that the category hasn't experienced for quite some time. "Gin has settled into the mainstream," explains Jamie Gordon, Chief Mixologist for Pernod Ricard. "It's inally entered into a safety zone for many drinkers, and gin cocktails have become ubiquitous at most of the top accounts." For many years, gin meant a neutral grain-based, juniper-forward, dry-style spirit that was often mixed with tonic. The gin category has blossomed with gins using a wide variety of grains and diverse botanicals, and some being offered at high proof or barrel aged. "Without a doubt there is more great gin on the market today than any time in history," says Jon Santer, co-owner of the highly acclaimed Prizeighter Bar in Emeryville, CA. With so many choices in the ever-expanding gin category, it can be dificult to understand the ins and outs of all the new choices, so we've broken it down with some of the more notable entries in each category. 94 / the tasting panel / january 2013

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