In other words, there was a lot of buzz being built in a category
that until recently had practically grown accustomed to being ig-
nored. It would have been hard to imagine when that line exten-
sion, Tanqueray Malacca, was first launched in the late 1990s that
it would become one of those rare bottles that bartenders would
haunt spirits shops and auctions seeking out. Then, gin was in the
midst of a losing battle to hold share as vodka continued to expand
its hold on the average American drinker.
Today, gin as a category still fights year to year to stem the flow
of consumers to less bold-flavored spirits; in 2012, though, it man-
aged to grow a respectable 1.5%, doing especially well (up nearly
20%) in the premium sub-category and up 2% in the high-end
premium price grouping, according to numbers released by the
Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS). While producers
anticipate volume growth to inch along, consumers continue to
flock to the higher end, making an attractive target for newcomers.
Unique
as a Category: Two in one
But who drinks gin, and where, is also important. According to the
Technomic “Trends in Adult Beverage” survey conducted February
2013, 26% of consumers report drinking gin in mixed drinks once
a month or more often in bars and restaurants, 35% of them in the
21-34 year old age bracket.
“Gin is a unique category in that the spirit is an important ele-
ment of classic cocktails, but continues to struggle with finding
ways to engage new consumers,” says Donna Hood Crecca, senior
director of Technomic’s adult beverage resource group. “Several
brands are being successful with less juniper-forward flavor profiles
and more contemporary positioning, which does bring attention,
especially in the on-premise segment.”
As David King, who as president of Anchor Distilling oversees
a three gin portfolio (junipery Junipero, Dutch Genever–style
Genevieve and the recently introduced London Dry–style No. 3),
points out, the current U.S. gin market is split into two major
segments. There is the shrinking traditional market favoring
w
hen a handful of bartenders and journalists
gathered at an old Italian restaurant on a
chilly Manhattan evening last December,
they taste-traveled back in time. In their
glasses that night: martinis made with bottles of
Tanqueray gin sealed in the 1960s. That same night,
the gossip about the return of an almost forgotten
line extension of the brand had spread as well.
Crafty Competition has
Raised the Bar for Small
and Large Gins Alike—
Elevating the Profile of the
Whole Category
BY JACK ROBERTIELLO
GIN
GAME
THE
Tanqueray’s
Basil Smash
Cocktail
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