How the UK rediscovered Gin


Gin may have been “Mother’s ruin,” and it may have been the cause of the dissolution and depravity featured in Hogarth’s “Gin Lane,” but it’s undoubtedly made a big comeback.  Indeed, it was the booze story of 2017, says the Guardian amongst others, and shows no sign of fading.

The trend is to boutique or artisan gins. Where bars once proudly boasted 57 varieties of malt whisky, they now display 137 exotic varieties of gin. Some 47m bottles, representing sales of £1.3bn changed hands in 2017. Sales of mass-produced brands were up 30%, but sales of artisan gins went up a whopping 167%.  Gin distilleries went up from dozens in 2008 when the law was changed, to many hundreds today.

It’s the drink of choice for the fashionistas, and it has carried on its back the sale of quality tonic mixers, especially Fever Tree.  It’s a trend no-one predicted because, fair enough, fashion is notoriously difficult to predict.  That’s why those who are good at it make pots of money. Small fortunes have been made in start-ups for the new gin craze. Some distilleries offer custom-made gins, where the customer selects from hundreds of herbs for a distinctive and original, and very expensive individual product.  And there are gin-related extras for the connoisseurs to indulge in.

“Then there is the UK’s first gin spa, where visitors can indulge in a juniper foot soak and a gin tasting menu. Trendy “ginsters” quaff from balloon glasses and increasingly prefer a sprig of rosemary or a handful of red berries to the traditional ice and slice.”