Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics - March/April 2017

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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Page 62 of 87

Gin Sales March/April 2017• Beverage Dynamics 63 Which, of course, is no longer the case. Thanks to the craft movement, there's been a rise in gins produced with local, alternative botanicals. Citrus fl avors have become trendy, like in Tanqueray No. Ten, or the craft brand Calamity Gin that was released this year. Part of the new wave of Texas distilling, Calamity Gin contains wildfl owers from the The Lone Star State, such as Texas Bluebonnets. "Heavy juniper scares people," explains Mike Howard, president of Southwest Spirits & Wine, makers of the gin. "You have to mask it." Calamity Gin features sweet fl oral tones with citrus notes and a bit of bitterness. And yes, there's juniper as the backbone. This is still gin, after all. "We wouldn't want anyone to think that we think we're above the roots of traditional gin," Howard says. "We think of out style as a twist on London Dry. We call it a Texas Dry." Uncle Val's is also reimagining gin fl avors. Sebastiani foresees a future spirit with black-pepper notes. "We want to get mixologists' juices fl owing," he says. "Perhaps they can make gin Bloody Mary, or a Red Snapper. We're trying to make something far-fetched," he adds. "Something that makes the consumer raise an eyebrow." MIXOLOGY BENEFITS GIN The mixology movement has been a boon for gin. Numerous classic and craft cocktails employ the spirit. "With more gin cocktails to select from, consumers are starting to fi nd that gin is more approachable," says Ander- man of Tanqueray. Popular drinks like the Negroni and gin and tonic remain at the forefront of modern mixology. Bartenders armed with an increasing number of artisanal tonics and garnishes can put personal twists on these classics. Like sparkling wine, gin drinks have benefi tted from consumers now seeing them as more than just a seasonal treat. "Previously, gin was used as an addition to a light, summer cocktail," says Batchelor of Bulldog. "Now, consumers and bartenders are starting to expand by including gin in more complicated and creative cocktails." Savvy brands have helped support the mixology movement. "Cocktail culture, once only vibrant in cities like New York and San Fran- cisco, is now thriving across the globe and Bombay Sapphire has been able to capitalize on this massive trend," Swift says. The brand hosts the annual Most Imaginative Bartender contest, which in 2016 celebrated 10 years. All ten fi nalists last year were featured in GQ's Men of the Year issue. CRAFT GIN BENEFITS EVERYONE Gin has also profi ted from the rise of craft spirits. Many startup microdistill- eries will produce gin fi rst. While no cinch to make, gins can at least be sold right away, whereas whiskey must spend years in barrels before generating profi t. It's often a matter of economics: what will allow the business to survive those initial years? At the same time, gin gives producers chance to refl ect regional ingredients and fl avors through botanicals and fruit. At the heart of craft is what's local. This has led to the recent spike in uniquely fl avored gins poured in tasting rooms in microdistilleries across the country. In turn, the gin category has never enjoyed greater diversity. "The wide variety of craft gins allows people to gravitate towards certain styles that they prefer, like with American whiskey and Scotch," says Howards of Ca- lamity Gin. Many big brands have embraced this diversity as benefi cial to the category as a whole. "WE HAVE FOUND THAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T FOLLOW A TRADITIONAL TRADE-UP MENTALITY AS THEY WOULD IN WHISKY AND BOURBON." −TOM SWIFT, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE VP, BRAND MANAGING DIRECTOR

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