In the drinks industry, 2018 will be remembered for its commitment to well-being, experimentation with infused spirits, the ever-growing dominance of gin and the resurgence of old favourites.
In case you missed some of the big trends of the year so far, here’s a refreshing reminder.
The Gin Bubble
2018 continues to be the year of the gin lover, with the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WTSA) recently valuing UK sales at £1.6 billion, rising to £2 billion when you include exports.
With no signs of slowing down, we’ve started to see more creative concoctions and trends, including a penchant for rose versions.
Earlier this summer, Malfy introduced its pink gin (RRP £28), using pink grapefruit peel and Italian juniper as well as a host of botanicals (very on trend) including orris root and coriander. While Suffolk-based Adnams entered the market with their ‘Copper House Pink Gin’ (RRP £29.99), which mixes well with prosecco for a fresh summer tipple.
Even Gordon’s switched up their traditional gin with a pink variant featuring raspberry, strawberry and redcurrant (£14), also available in a convenient tin can.
New Old Favourites
Gin should be enjoying its time in the spotlight while it lasts, because if insight from CGA is to be believed, golden rum is the next big thing expected to outperform gin by 2020.
All the signs are there; the rum industry has gone from a few staples to more than 100 varieties in recent years. This is down to spirit drinkers looking to “experiment with new and interesting flavours” claims Bacardi, who responded with the launch of their Bacardi Ginger flavour rum (£16.99) this year, while Clement Creole Shrubb launched their orange and rum combination.
Another old favourite making waves in the sea of spirits is tequila; a spirit which has seen sales increase by over a third in the past two years.
This year alone we’ve enjoyed premium variants, such as Gran Patrón Smoky, paying homage to traditional distillation techniques (currently available in USA for $199). While Corazón Tequila enters the UK market with blanco, añejo and reposado expressions, appealing to consumers that appreciate “spirits with authenticity and provenance”, starting from £32.
Ⓒ Old Curiosity Gin
The health trend has trickled into the drinks market, inviting brands to review the way they market products. Thanks to their detoxifying and botanical benefits, ingredients such as ginger, berries and cardamom have been finding their way into recipes.
One of the most notable has been The Old Curiosity’s eclectic range of botanical infused gins, featuring; Apothecary Rose, Lavender and Echinacea, and Chamomile and Cornflower variants (RRP £35.95).
Alcohol free drinks have upped the ante as well. Made in the Southwest coast, Sea Arch is an alcohol-free spirit for gin lovers, loaded with all the goodness of sea kelp, juniper berries, cardamom and angelica root.
Seedlip is known for its sophisticated alternatives to alcohol, this year including Grove 42, a plant-based liquid, feature bitter orange, blood orange, mandarin, ginger, lemongrass and lemon (£27.99)
Rounding the year off with a sweet taste, the final trend is infused spirits. Its popularity continues to grow in competition to rose wines and pink gins.
Some of our favourites include Polish vodka, Belvedere’s ginger zest ($29.99), and French born Grey Goose with their ‘La Vanille’ returning after a 15-year break, as vanilla comes back in fashion.
Bringing together infused spirits with a ‘healthy’ touch, Absolut responded to the evolving marketplace with their ‘Juice Edition’ offering apple and strawberry flavoured vodkas this year. Infused with real fruit juice, it attempts to appeal to a ‘growing health conscious consumer’ (RRP £16).
Not to be outdone, Sipsmith also launched a summer syrups range bringing fruity infusions to their London dry gin, in mouth-watering flavours such as strawberries and cream (RRP £47).
What’s in store for 2019 then? We expect gin to gain even more ground and mixers to take note of the botanical trend.
Interesting in making your own vodka infusions, it is really simple, check out our blog Fun & Easy Homemade Infused Vodka.