By Katie Wilson
We couldn’t drink G&T in a bar much in 2020, but gin still had a massive year, becoming the UK’s best-selling spirit during lockdown.
So what kind of gin can we expect to drink in 2021? We spoke to Paul Jackson, Editor of The Gin Guide, to find out his top gin trends for the year ahead.
From an explosion of internationally made gins becoming available to buy in the UK to more of us drinking gin in a tin, this is what he had to say.
The last few years have seen a global boom in gin making. We make pretty great gin in the UK, but Paul says 2021 will be the year we look to gin from overseas.
‘People are making gin in some pretty exotic places,’ he reveals. ‘New gins are being made in Estonia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile.
‘I even spoke to a distillery in Angola the other day. Some are not available to buy in the UK yet, but they will be soon.’
Many distilleries have already cottoned on to festive or summer gin, but Paul says we should expect a ‘gin for every occasion’ in 2021. Think Valentine’s Day gin, Spring gin – even Easter gin.
‘More gin makers are catching on to this now and are coming up with new gins throughout the year,’ he explains.
‘Before distilleries had two or three gins. Now they have a core range of say five gins, plus limited edition bottles. A lot more people will be doing this in 2021.’
Locally made gins
Local gins are definitely having a moment and Paul predicts a lot more local distilleries will pop up in 2021.
‘The way we’re going, there will soon be a gin for every town,’ he says.
‘Hopefully people will continue to buy gin locally and support local businesses. I think they are still buying their everyday gins in the supermarket, but also buying local gins, whether it’s for themselves, or as gifts for friends or family who don’t live in their area.’
Home cocktail making
Lockdown caused a boom in home cocktail making. And gin – the nation’s favourite tipple – was definitely not left on the shelf.
Many drinks makers saw this as an opportunity to sell gin cocktail kits which people could buy and make at home.
Paul says: ‘There was a boom in home cocktail making, particularly because of lockdown. Lots of companies sold cocktail kits, pre-made gin cocktails or ran cocktail making classes online. We also saw some distillers making gin specifically for different cocktails, and this is set to continue in 2021.’
Gins in a tin
Gins in a tin have been around for a while now from big manufacturers like Gordon’s and M&S. But in 2021 expect to see a lot more of these offerings from independent sellers.
Paul tells us: ‘Pre-made gin and tonics in a can or a bottle are being made a lot more by distillers now – and there a lot of interesting flavours around.
‘Seltzer, a sparkling water mixer which is really trendy in the America at the moment, will also get bigger over here.’
Non-alcoholic gin alternatives
Gin makers don’t always make much profit as the tax on alcohol is so high, so they can actually make more money from non-alcoholic drinks.
This coupled with the demand for clean living has led many independent distillers to start making their own non-alcoholic gin alternatives.
Paul says: ‘The market for non-alcoholic alternatives is huge at the moment. Bars are also seeing them sell really well. Non drinkers no longer want to sit there with their lime and soda all night. They want to join in.’
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