The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2018

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Page 77 of 124

january/february 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  77 Our Annual Gin-uary Report Congratulations! You made it through another rollercoaster of a year. For the gin category, though, 2017 brought nothing but upward mobility: After hitting $1 billion in sales in 2016, the spirit experienced another fruitful year full of exciting news and expressions. Although many distillers have historically been lured into the industry via the whiskey category, we're all well aware it takes a considerable amount of time to produce these aged spirits. Few new enterprises have the resources to wait years before they start turning a profit, so distilleries often turn to gin production as they let their barrels rest and whiskey mature. Luckily for us gin lovers, this trend has spawned countless fresh brands within the category. The innovation in flavor profiles brought about by these distillers and their fellow produc- ers has changed the perception of gin in the minds of both bartenders and consumers. It's no longer just about the juniper; it's about facilitating creative freedom and a delicate bal- ance between the elements, as well as allowing space for each botanical to shine in perfect harmony. Much like the locavore movement, gin distillers now look to their surrounding region for inspiration and are able to develop spirits with a sense of place that sets them apart from the competition. With seemingly endless numbers of styles and flavor profiles, bartenders have more opportunity than ever to put new twists on classic drinks and craft interesting and jaw- dropping cocktails that will keep their customers fully invested in the gin craze. No one knows where 2018 may take us, but here's hoping the category will continue to impress and reap success. PUT A THE TASTING PANEL SELECTS OUR FAVORITE SPIRITS FOR AN INCREDIBLE GIN-UARY by Emily Coleman in it

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