Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Inverroche gin

Interest in local craft gin blossoms

Distilleries now sell handcrafted gins with infusions of everything from grapefruit, rosemary and lime peels to cream, seaweed, olives, basil and truffles.

For South Africa’s small distilleries, infusions of buchu, rooibos, honeybush and fynbos make unique statements.

Rob Heyns, alcohol buyer for Yuppiechef, says interest in craft gins has exploded. “It may be because we started off at a low base, but we have literally just seen sales take off – and this is for handcrafted premium products that are more expensive than ordinary gins,” says Heyns, who is also the founder of League of Beers.

“I think the rise and success of craft beers over the last few years is one of the main reasons people have become accustomed to different taste profiles and are willing to experiment.”

Heyns says South Africa has keenly joined the world’s new gin craze. Interest in uniquely South African infusions is picking up. Cape Town has been at it longest and has many distilleries, dedicated gin bars and gin festivals, but Johannesburg is catching up fast.

Duncan Armstrong of Jenever Montane, a fynbos gin, says it’s exciting that the local market is still small enough to allow new players to enter and experiment.

“Inverroche was the first and now we have several small producers making excellent products. Hope on Hopkins has gins with basil and olives, for example, and we see products coming onto the market all the time – it’s great.

“We’re even seeing the rise of different tonic waters that offset different gins. And, like all things, some will last and some won’t,” says Armstrong.

Armstrong’s background is in brewing. His interest in tweaking taste profiles, as he learnt with craft beer, led him to try the same thing with craft gin and fynbos.

It’s the right time for craft gin, the right time for South African products to be frontrunners, and the right time to settle down for a craft G&T.

Heyns has some tips on how to drink the new local gins: “Premium gins are ‘soft, warm and smooth’, so you can drink them neat with a block of ice to cool it slightly and dash of water to cut the alcohol.

“Gin, though, loves tonic. The effervescence ‘wakes up’ the gin, giving the G&T its reputation as a drink of refreshment. The next step is about mixology – playing around to make the perfect cocktail.

Other points on the gin trend:

  • Gin innovation has reached its peak, or so say the critics. But, those closer to the sector say new gin products are set to fly out of distilleries and keep the segment fresh for years to come, says this article.
  • There are more than 240 gin distilleries in the UK, with more launching year-on-year than ever before. In 2015 sales of gin broke all records and topped £900m – with on-trade sales taking a large chunk of that total.
  • According to Mintel, its UK research indicates that gin is in fact now most likely to be drunk by younger consumers, suggesting that it has a chance to forge a dynamic image and move into even more innovative areas.
  • Beyond the appeal of local ingredients and flavours, terroir, which is usually associated with wine, is growing as a future aspect gin, as distillers seek out new points of difference.
  • Ageing gin in casks – whether former wine barrels, Bourbon or otherwise – is paving the way for more sipping gins.

Source: The Times;