Growing up, it's likely that you remember gin being something that your mum or aunties drank. Until relatively recently, it wasn't considered a particularly sexy spirit - after all, it did originate as a means to treat gout and indigestion, and famously became known as Mothers Ruin in the 18th century.
The gin obsession in Britain during this period was blamed for misery, rising crime, madness, higher death rates and falling birth rates as gin joints allowed women to drink alongside men for the first time.
But, fast forward to today, and the gin is more popular than ever and there is no sign of it waning anytime soon. In the last decade, Gin has seen a revival incomparable to any other spirit on the market. The "ginaissance", as it is sometimes called, has led to a significant boom in gin making in the UK. As of 2022, there are 820 UK gin distilleries, up from 710 in 2020 and 190 in 2015! But, why is this?
Gin’s popularity has been on the rise due to three main factors: the craft beer and spirits movement, it's versatility, and it's affordability.
1. The Craft Beer & Spirits Movement
In 2009, the gin market changed. Craft distilleries offering unique blends started to take over prime retail space and gin enthusiasts were excited to see something new and even more surprised to see the varieties on offer.
Gin can only be legally classified if its principal characteristic is the juniper berry. Craft distilleries decided to get creative by adding 'botanicals'. Ingredients such as orange, or even catnip were distilled to bring new flavours and twists to the classic profile!
The use of different botanicals in the spirit means that by simply swapping out your choice of gin, a standard cocktail can turn into something unique and truly special.
The basic gin making process hasn’t changed much since it first hit the market in the 1600s. Neutral spirit, juniper berries, and botanicals are combined and heated in pot stills for up to 48 hours. Then water is added to dilute the mixture because pure gin is so strong it fails all government regulations! But, new distilling methods and technologies have streamlined and improved the process which means that gins can be distilled faster, and to a higher quality than before. This means that production costs are cheaper and therefore the retail cost is cheaper, with no need to compromise on quality!
So, if you were wondering why the craft gin movement was still so popular, there you have it. It's great news for gin lovers and gin producers alike. You may be wondering however, if there are so many gins on the market, how do you know what's good?
We recommend choosing on the best, award-winning spirits - then you don't need to wonder whether it's good or not!