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Pick n Pay highlights SA’s robust gin culture

Pick n Pay is now stocking over 100 varieties and faces the challenge of allocating adequate shelf space to the burgeoning number of brands.

Gin has been rapidly growing in popularity – and the pandemic didn’t slow customers’ interest in the gin craze.

This is according to Pick n Pay who says that gin has grown more than three times faster than all other liquor types available at Pick n Pay liquor stores over the last two years.

Pick n Pay’s gin category now rivals the popularity of whisky, and has exceeded the size of its vodka and brandy categories. 

Recently Stats SA reported that gin has now been included in its consumer inflation basket which reflects trends in household spending habits. The inclusion of gin means it has attracted a sizable share of consumer expenditure in the alcoholic beverages category and shows growing consumer popularity.

Not even the alcohol ban stood in the way of gin-lovers, says Pick n Pay, as many customers turned to alcohol-free gin during the liquor bans.

Gavin Ievers, head of liquor at Pick n Pay, says while gin is a popular purchase for customers year-round, more customers tend to experiment with gin purchases over the summer months.

The retailer now stocks over 100 different varieties of gins, up from just 20 brands 10 years ago. Ievers says that the introduction of new gins into the market has not abated.

“We get presented with new brands each month and are always adding to our range. For instance, we recently offered gin-lovers a gin specially made for Valentine’s Day called I LOVE YOU by Ginologist, a local brand based in Johannesburg.” 

He adds that the demand for gin – across all price points – has now created a challenge with space in stores.

“We have to be creative with our shelf space to fit our growing gin range, but we’re making available the best selection possible for customers across our 500 liquor stores.”

Over a quarter of the gins stocked at Pick n Pay are locally crafted, including Musgrave Gin made by Simone Musgrave, a supplier from Pick n Pay’s Enterprise and Supplier Development programme.

“The rise in gin popularity has also seen many businesses capitalise on the trend by expanding their tonic ranges to include sugar-free and artisanal ranges or ‘ready-to-drink’ mixers.”

On why gin is so popular in South Africa, Ievers says that customers enjoy the opportunity to experiment with the spirit: “The vast range of flavours and botanicals make it a fun and exciting experience.”  

Unlike whisky, which shows a strong gender bias, both men and women said they enjoyed gin, making it the only hard spirit other than vodka that marketers consider gender neutral.

Pick n Pay caused a buzz on social media when it started stocking its “Botanicals for Gin” and “Citrus for Gin” pack in 2019. This included seasonal citrus like grapefruit, limes and lemons.

“Our Citrus for Gin packs are back on the shelf following high customer demand. Customers asked us for it, so we listened and put them right back on the shelves again this summer season.”

Source: Pick n Pay