Why Gin Sales Are Soaring

Modern craft versions, featuring flavors like Earl Grey tea, are taking center stage.

Courtesy of William Agrant & Sons

Gin is enjoying the greatest sales growth in the global liquor industry. The uptick began with fruit-flavored pink gins, but has soared with new variations, creating a category called flavored gins. It’s an odd name, given that gin is by definition flavored (with juniper). And flavored gin comes with a stigma by association with flavored vodka, probably the most maligned category among beverage professionals. Once trendy, flavored vodka is now derided as cheesy and passé. 

What’s to keep flavored gin from the same fate? Well, for one thing, it makes an easy at-home cocktail mixed with something simple, like lemonade.

The federal government requires flavored gin to contain gin’s primary flavor (juniper), but allows it to be bottled at lower proof than standard gin. “In the gin world,” says Leandra del Pozo, marketing director of Corgi Spirits distillery in Jersey City, “you technically can’t have any one botanical taste more than the juniper.” In actual practice, most modern craft gins somewhat obscure the taste of juniper because the Christmas-tree perfume of the London Dry style has turned off would-be drinkers for decades.  

Corgi’s flagship flavored gin, Earl Grey, brings tea flavor to the forefront. Corgi also makes Garden Party gin with vegetal notes. Erik Andersson, East Coast brand ambassador for Hendrick’s—the cucumber-and-rosewater-infused spirit that introduced the world to botanical, rather than dry, gins, says, “[Flavored] is an emerging gin that comes out with a single dominant flavor.” Hendrick’s has released two flavored gins: the floral Midsummer Solstice and Orbium, made with quinine and wormwood.

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