StateWays - March/April 2017

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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StateWays | | March/April 2017 30 30 "The roles of craft gin and micro-gin distilleries are a ne- cessity as they continue to champion the varied fl avors and experiences that an individual can have with gin," says Batch- elor of Bulldog. "You cannot say you have tried gin if you have only tried one brand, and that is the beauty of this category." CONSUMERS LEARN ABOUT GIN A hallmark of the craft movement has been the increased curiosity of consumers. They're "interested in the unexpected and willing to take risks," explains Anderman of Tanqueray. "WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO REWORK SOME THINGS AND PULL THE PRICING LOWER, BUT WE LIKE BEING ABOVE THE FRAY." −AUGUST SEBASTIANI, PRESIDENT OF 3 BADGE BEVERAGE CORPORATION Armed with the internet, and frequently on their phones, peo- ple today love to look up and learn about whatever catches their curiosity — or intrigues their palate. And it's more than self-education. Knowledge of fi ne al- cohol has become social currency at parties and gatherings. And it's social glue for groups of friends, especially Millenni- als, who go out and explore categories together. Connoisseurship is up, which benefi ts all spirits. "Those interested in craft spirits are expanding their knowledge of various categories, including gin, and are taking initiative to further educate themselves and expand upon their knowl- edge," Anderman says. The internet is one path for consumers towards this knowledge. Another common path is through the bar. "We've found one of the best ways to run a consumer edu- cation program is with bartenders leading consumers through an interactive, hands-on approach to create their own cock- tails," says Swift of Bombay Sapphire. "Our consumers are truly epicurean and looking for ways to replicate the craft cocktails they try on-premise, at home." GIN STEALS FROM VODKA Gin has opportunity to lure consumers away from its fellow white spirit, vodka. On one hand, the vast size difference between categories makes poaching drinkers easier. Vodka represents about 33% of the distilled spirit market, while gin is only 4.6%. There's ample room for growth at the expense of vodka. Some gin producers also believe there's an advantage in the difference in fl avors — especially in the age of craft. Like a lager beer versus an ale, vodka is smoother to gin's more-pronounced fl avors. That could help gin "recruit vodka drinkers by offering a more interesting and dynamic category," Anderman says. Gin may also be better tailored towards the mixology movement by fi lling "a niche in the craft spirits boom that vodka fails to do," says Sebastiani of Uncle Val's. "There's a certain depth of character and fl avor to gin that the odor- less, colorless gin doesn't have for mixologists who want to capitalize on that consumer interest." Howard of Calamity Gin sees his Texas Dry as "bridging the gap between vodka and gin. It's got the juniper and cit- rus, but it's still cool and easy drinking like a vodka," he says. "We want to be a safe landing place for vodka drinkers." • GIN SALES

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