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Gin Spin August

Written by Gin Foundry

Gin Foundry takes a keen-eyed look at industry news to bring you a snapshot of the best bits the last month has had to offer.

It’s Ginfographic time!

Gin nerds, assemble! Every year we ask you to take part in the Ginfographic, our annual survey that paints a snapshot of the Gin category, looking at how people serve Gin, how much they’ll spend on Gin and how they’d like to be served it in bars. Last year we broke the 2,000 respondent barrier, this year we’re going for even more… As always, the results are published for free, for all to see including all the insight… Have your Gin drinking voice heard HERE!

Slap on the Wrists

You might have spotted the headlines on Collagin, “the world’s first gin distilled with pure collagen,” that have spewed out across the web over the past few months. Brand owner Young in Spirit has very much marketed the product towards a beauty conscious audience, with phrases like ‘The Elixir of Youth’ and ‘Skin & Tonic’ stamped across the label.

It was always going to be nonsense, wasn’t it? Last month, two members of the public took the brand to task, labelling the wording as “very irresponsible and misleading.” The Portman Group - The alcohol industry’s independent complaints panel - upheld two complaints about the packaging, which “suggested the product had therapeutic qualities or could help with the consumer’s appearance in some way.” As a result, a retailer bulletin was issued, requesting licensees not to place an order for stocks of Collagin (in its original packaging) after the 29th October this year.

Young in Spirit subsequently wrote a heartfelt, if not a little protest-too-much blog post about how this case has affected them, and the efforts they’ve already made to comply. They also state that they’d already stopped producing the bottles before the ruling, and had changed their language to remove any claims of a ‘therapeutic’ effect.

When discussing the case, Young in Spirit claimed that the wording is “tongue in cheek,” and said that the public will be able to work out that alcohol isn’t going to roll back the years. It’s a fine stance to take, but the key fact is this: There is a certain point in which continuously implying something becomes a lie, and Young in Spirit went far beyond that. Just as recently as July we were sent a press release in which co-founder Liz Beswick said: “Our key botanicals have an anti-ageing quality to complement the collagen, particularly the pink grapefruit, fresh orange, anise oil and orris.” Tongue in cheek or not, it shouldn’t be up to the consumer to solve a puzzle and we’re glad to see steps have been taken to address what was clearly an egregious overstretch from owners and their advertising. We hope this will extend to others in the category as there are many whom are, arguably, making much more disingenuous claims than here and strong self regulation will in the long term - be to everyone’s benefit.

That’s Ginerous

Social enterprise gin brand Ginerosity passed a bit of a milestone this month, when sales raised through 12 Scottish supermarket stores helped it to fund six work placements for disadvantaged young adults. All profits from the gin, distilled at Pickerings‘ Summerhall Distillery, are siphoned straight back out to charitable projects.

Ginerosity’s Chris Thewlis said: “Within a matter of months we went from launching Ginerosity to being stocked by Asda and sending six young adults on placements that provide skills, training and personal development to build themselves a better future. We think that’s an incredible achievement for our social enterprise gin and we want to thank all involved in this success story.”

It’s great to see Gin giving back; many launch with a charitable endeavour, but we rarely hear about the good work that’s actually done with funds raised. We now want to hear how the Elephant Gin  elephants are getting on (following their huge milestone of donating over a €150,000 to their conservation  projects so far) or how the Graveney gorillas are doing…

More New Gins Than You Can Shake a Juniper bush At

Industry news may have been quiet, but that hasn’t stopped approximately one million gins (give or take a couple) from landing on the scene this month…

Let’s start with fruit liqueurs, an un-slowing trend that sees the most British of spirits mix with the most British of hedgerow produce to create syrupy sweet, dangerously drinkable potions. The Shakespeare Distillery in Stratford-Upon-Avon  is releasing an early batch of its New Place Mulberry Gin Liqueur, using mulberries that have got a little bit ahead of the season. It was originally released last April to coincide with the 400 year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and this current crop uses mulberries that have an extraordinarily tenuous link to the bard, with one or two trees responsible for the crop supposedly grown from cuttings taken from a mulberry tree planted by Shakespeare himself.

Another release (or perhaps upgrade is the right term) comes from Edinburgh Gin, which has Pretty Woman’d its liqueur range, upgrading the bottles and labels to better represent not just their quality, but their high standing in the Gin community. Neil Boyd, commercial director at Ian Macleod Distillers, said: “Premium and versatile, the fruit gin liqueurs are among our best-loved spirits and we have no doubt that the new designs will only increase their popularity further.”

Weird gin is still growing, too, it seems: the Cambridge Gin Company has released Truffle Gin, infused with Italian white truffles. Cambridge are known for their strange collection, with their ant gin another headline act. This is actually one we’d love to try - there are a few truffle gins on the market at the moment, but to our knowledge this is the only one to be cold distilled, a method that should preserve the freshness of the fungus. Mind you, at £80 for a 70cl bottle, the closest we’re going to come to tasting it is sticking a mushroom in as the garnish on our Friday night G&T…

The influx of truffle gins this year may indicate that ‘posh gin’ is becoming a thing. Keep your eyes out for ingredients from the most confounding aisles of Waitrose or Whole Foods to worm their way into a bottle near you…

Meanwhile, Norwich (home to Bullards and St. Giles) has yet another gin to it’s name: Jindea, a Darjeeling tea-rich spirit created by drinks industry veteran Matthew Dakers and his friend Adrian Gomes. There’s also the hotly anticipated Isle of Barra Gin, a stunning package inspired by its creators Kate and Michael Morrison’s home on the Scottish isles. The gin’s star botanical is caragreen, a type of red algae that grows across the Atlantic ocean. Though currently being made third party at a London distillery, production of the gin will move to Barra in good time.

Oh… and here’s the news you never wanted to here. Irish butchers, McCartney’s of Moira, has taken advantage of the Gin trend by rolling out some gin and tonic flavoured sausages. Gordon’s and Schweppe’s like you’ve never tasted them before…!

Yeah, us neither.

Gin Spin Ginerosity