Who would have guessed just over 10 years ago that craft beer would become such a huge trend? What started off as just a few local brews sold locally, inched up to steal market shares from some of the biggest players, and now represent over 11 percent in volume of the U.S. market, and more importantly, close to 20 percent of the market in value. Some were taken by surprise, some rode the wave and profited, but undoubtedly, everyone now asks, “where is the next trend coming from?”
There is certainly plenty of U.S. consumer research and data tracking to keep every trade analyst busy, so instead of looking in, I propose to look outside of our borders to see what interesting trends are taking place in Europe and Asia. Without a doubt, one trend stands out from the rest: the growth of premium “craft-like” gin.
Although interesting variations appear from country to country, agencies across Sopexa’s network agreed that premium and small-batch gins were a trend to contend with. In Germany, where the trend is probably the most apparent, gin is living through a full blown renaissance. Hipster brand ambassadors highlight the wonders of their unique product. Creative and adventurous mixologists itch with desire to explain the differences between the various product discoveries they have made. Dedicated bars, like the G&T in Berlin, are becoming staples of the nightscape. “In Germany, gin has now become an affair of connoisseurs,” Sylvain Rouchy, Sopexa Germany’s managing director, says. “Long gone are the days where you’d order just a Gin & Tonic at the bar.”
Chris Skyrme, PR director at Sopexa U.K., confirms that “the trend is still on the cusp, but the ‘posh’ hand crafted gin brands, like Telegraph, are gaining in popularity on the cocktail scene. The tipping point could be right around the corner.” And we’re not the only ones saying so. Scott Gibson, from the trendy bar Panda & Sons in Edinburgh, was quoted in Harpers saying, “There are a lot of new small batch gins popping up all over the country.” In the U.K., Nielsen figures confirmed gin was a big holiday sales winner with a YoY increase of 7 percent.
“Gin is increasingly trendy,” confirms Rafael Esposito from Sopexa Espagna. “We even have a mail-order club that was recently created focused solely on the spirit, El Club Gin Tonic, which allows members to receive monthly selections of the best craft gins.”
Gins popularity is not surprising to the teams in Hong Kong who have seen this trend take off as well. With visibility in trendy places like bar Ping Pong 129, which references over 60 gins from around the world, mostly small batch, craft-like spirits.
And North America is catching on. Already, the SAQ in Quebec, Canada is stocking up on locally-distilled micro hipster brands like Piger Henricus, and importing new premium brands like Chilgrove from the UK. And, when a major market maker like the SAQ starts taking an interest, the market listens.
So if I had to bet on where the next trend was coming from, I’d probably assume that it’s the wave of craft gins that are crossing the oceans and coming to our shores sometime soon. Seems like a pretty safe bet from this international viewpoint.