2019 – Another Win for Gin?
Ten years ago, two men by the names of Fairfax Hall and Sam Galsworthy opened London’s first traditional copper distillery since 1820. This endeavour was the result of a successful legal battle, in which the two men were granted the first small-scale distilling license in 200 years. It was this quaint distillery which brought Sipsmith gin into the world, an independent brand which would lead the charge in a gin revolution. Within a decade, most of the UK had raided Granny’s drinks cabinet in search of their new favourite spirit.
Gin’s popularity really bloomed in 2018 – sales of the drink had tripled since Sipsmith’s debut in 2009, with more gin sold last year than in 2014 and 2015 combined! The Morning Advertiser reported a total of more than 66 million bottles sold, whilst pubs, bars and restaurants saw a 56% increase in gin sales. The growth hasn’t stopped there, however! Once an underdog of the alcohol trade, gin has fought to become the UK’s second most popular spirit (behind vodka). In recent months, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association have recorded total gin sales surpassing £2 billion.
So, what is it about gin that’s fuelling its enduring popularity? Traders have attributed the recent boom in sales to 2018’s infamous summer heatwave, with many folks searching for a cooling, refreshing beverage that’s light on the calories. Another reason for its success leads us back to Sipsmith’s launch in 2009. The endearing story of the founders fighting to produce craft gin on a small scale contributes to the character of the brand, separating it from mass-produced corporate brands. Many independent distilleries would follow the path paved by Sam and Fairfax, with the UK seeing its number of distilleries increasing from 152 to 315 between 2012 and 2017. Many of the brands that emerged from this increase began experimenting with their gins, using a wide range of botanicals and flavourings to keep their market contributions varied and exciting.
Here at the Boathouse, we really couldn’t pass up an opportunity to get ‘gin’ on the action. The instillation of our downstairs bar in 2017 brought with it a range of over 65 craft gins. Whilst that may seem like an intimidating number to any casual gin drinker, our team have created a handy ‘Gin Passport’ to lead customers through our assortment of dry, pink and flavoured gins. The passport contains a page for 30 of our most popular gins, and when you try one we’ll stamp that page for you. Once you’ve collected 30 stamps, you’ll receive a bottle of your favourite gin for free! For more information on how to sign up for a passport, ask at our bar or contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org. For now, here are five of our favourite craft gins from the passport.
- Sipsmith Lemon Drizzle (40.4% abv)
It seems only right to begin with the brand that started it all. Sipsmith’s Lemon Drizzle uses fresh lemon for a zesty, warming zing with an underlying hint of vanilla.
- Malfy Blood Orange (41% abv)
Malfy’s Blood Orange uses a twist of bitter-sweet Sicilian blood oranges to provide an intense, refreshing sweetness, which is balanced by hints of vanilla and tart grapefruit.
- Chase Sloe and Mulberry (29.1% abv)
Chase hand-picks sloe and mulberries and ages them in oak for a year to gain a sweet and syrupy liqueur with notes of figs, dates, prunes and redcurrants.
- J. J. Whitley Elderflower (38.6% abv)
This handcrafted gin is dominated by the essence of elderflower, aided by orange blossom, honey and fresh green grass.
- Gin Mare (42.7%)
This Mediterranean blend is distilled from olives, thyme, rosemary and basil. A perfect compliment to our extensive tapas menu… if we do say so ourselves!
With such an extensive and ever-growing collection of gins just waiting to be tried, there’s no time like the present to call in and join us for a glass… or three! Let’s drink to another great summer for gin!