The UK is currently gripped by a gin obsession, with distilleries, bars and new concepts popping up all over the country. Our love for gin does not appear to be slowing down. Domestic gin sales hit £1.2 billion in the 12 months to Sept 2017, with Brits buying the equivalent of over 47 million bottles of gin. This is up 7 million bottles compared to the same period the previous year. A YouGov poll established gin as the most popular spirit with 29% of drinkers voting it their favourite drop.
Figures recently released show that 49 new UK distilleries were opened in 2017. Here at Thomson Snell & Passmore we helped the Copper Rivet Distillery with the letting of their new premises in Chatham in 2016. Based in the dockyard in Chatham, the venture has been nominated for an award for its innovation and regeneration of the area. The distillery has recently doubled it's production capacity and is seeing sales grow week on week.
Our Food and Beverage Sector team specialises in working with companies and individuals in the market and we have experts in all areas of law on hand to help where required. We are one of the founding partners of a local Food and Beverage Club, looking to bring people together in the sector to network. Through this we have met the owners of Anno Distillers and Greensand Ridge Distillery, two local ventures distilling gin and other spirits.
Anno was started by two chemists in a kitchen in 2011 as a hobby that blossomed into something much larger. Gin was eventually released to the public in October 2013 from their site in Marden with immediate success, winning gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Anno came along at the right time to take advantage of the recent boom and sales have increased 45% year on year since then.
According to the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) the gin craze or ‘ginaissance’ is taking over the world. In 2017 £530 million worth of gin was sold abroad, the equivalent of 189 million bottles. According to a recent WTSA article, Britain exports more gin around the world than it does beef. Indeed the Copper Rivet has managed to benefit from this and is represented by a national retailer and exporting to Scandinavia. Anno are also fully aware of gin’s global appeal:
‘Exports of UK gins are at an all-time high with other significant markets following the UK trend for premiumisation. Craft distillers are producing outstanding gins that the public want and buy so the future looks very exciting.’
Local restaurants, bars and cafes are keen to stock local produce with the consumer’s keen eye on provenance. This is great news for our friends in the trade and this drives business and the local visibility of their brand. Bob Russell of the Copper Rivet is keen to ensure provenance is at the heart of what they do. With the rapid growth and popularity in gin their brand and product must stand out amongst the crowd:
"Gin is seeing unprecedented growth in its popularity and sales. With more than 250 brands available in the UK, the USP at Copper Rivet Distillery is to produce its Ultra-Premium Dockyard Gin "from grain to glass". To do this we work in partnership with one farm that grows our wheat, barley and rye to our Head Distiller’s specification, we mill the grain at the distillery and this gives us complete control over the quality of our spirit and provides provenance."
Greensand Ridge Distillery is located in the idyllic setting of Shipbourne, overlooking the Kent countryside. Founded in 2015 by Will Edge, the distillery aims to double its headcount and production by next year, having released their first spirit in mid-2016. As with everyone in the market Will is fully aware that the industry is riding the crest of a wave and has developed in many other areas.
"Like many booms, when you work in the industry it has been apparent the trajectory the industry has been on for a decade or so. What is surprising to me in the last couple of years has been the growth of the 'associated' industries around gin production - festivals, giftware, blogging etc."
Will is also conscious of the point regarding provenance, and people’s keenness to explore the product further and understand the product being produced.
"Another change in the last couple of years has been the willingness of consumers to drill down beyond the brand to find out what flavours are used, if the brand make their own spirit or if it is contract distilled, and what are the ethics behind the brand. For us, we are not just a gin distillery - we will release our first aged brandies and rums this year - so we have our focus on a few different markets"
Here at Thomson Snell & Passmore we are fully immersed in all things food & beverage. We are incredibly enthusiastic about everything in the sector, and ensure we keep ahead of all the issues relating to it. By doing this, we ensure we provide the best service possible to our clients.