While the peak of the gin boom might have passed, changes in socialising, ongoing sustainability trends and new or unusual flavours offer opportunities for flavoured gins.
Volume sales of gin slipped in 2021 due to pandemic-related challenges for on-trade, then both volume and values sales dipped through 2022 as the cost-of-living crisis set in.
Overall, volume sales of white spirits and RTDs are expected to drop further still, by 4% between 2022-27. However, price rises mean value sales will rise regardless, by up to 15%, according to analysis from Mintel*.
Though sales are slowing, there remain a range of opportunities for flavoured gins.
Gin and flavoured gin are perfectly positioned to capitalise on the growth of at-home drinking and moves towards moderation. Amongst established buyers, 54% say white spirits make at-home occasions more special and 49% say smaller bottles make buying white spirits more affordable*.
For consumers still spending on spirits, low brand loyalty offers opportunities for own-label and emerging brands. Smaller bottles by newcomers can capture the interest of people trading down or reining in spending. Adapted formats also suit the many drinkers cutting back on alcohol, whether opting for lower ABV drinks or limiting drinking occasions.
White spirits play a good role in gifting too – 45% of adults see white spirits as a good choice for an affordable gift**. Smaller bottles can particularly appeal here, their lower price points making them especially affordable.
Sustainable production could also support flavoured gin sales, as ethical and environmental considerations remain important to consumers even in the face of squeezed incomes.
However, the cost-of-living crisis has already slowed sales of all white spirits, and further decline is expected as global challenges create higher production costs, pushing up prices of all spirits.
Here’s how we see flavour favourites, marketing messages and production processes helping to sustain steady sales for flavoured gin through 2023:
New flavour themes
New, interesting and adventurous flavour creations have been central to the rise of flavoured gins. For drinkers new to the spirit, they have offered a route into the juniper-based original. And for producers seeking to stand out, they help to differentiate on the supermarket shelves.
Unique ingredients are important to 54% of people buying white spirits, including 22% who will pay more for them*.
Wider 2023 flavour trends for smokey and spicy foods and drinks suit this, as do the bitter or sour spirits increasingly being created.
Spiced gins using rich botanicals are commonplace, paving the way for smoked gins, using creative preparation techniques. Bitter or sour gins build on ever-popular citrus flavours, such as bitter grapefruit or sour lemon. These can also be developed through different preparation techniques, to give drinks an interesting back-story.
As drinkers have become accustomed to the unusual additions used in spirits, savoury flavoured gins have been introduced too. These can suit older or more discerning drinkers who might find typical flavoured options too sugary or sweet.
Citadelle unveiled a pickled gin, Vive Le Cornichon, in 2022, and Stoli Group has introduced an asparagus flavoured gin, Tulchan Gin, using botanicals sourced from Scotland.
Provenance has also been a key ingredient for flavoured gin trends in recent years. Highlighting where or how flavours are sourced by referencing the region or origin on-pack appeals to 51%, while sustainable production is important to 56% of white spirits buyers*.
Each of these suits wider drinks trends for exotic and internationally-inspired ingredients too.
Seasonal sips and nostalgic inspirations
Celebrations, nostalgia and escapism are influencing new flavoured gin trends too.
Over in Australia producers are drawing on both nostalgia and escapism to create new flavours. Four Pillars’ Olive Leaf flavoured gin is a luxe offering while Ginfinity’s Bubblegum gin is a playful, retro creation. For tropical escapism, Whitley Neill’s has launched a Banana & Guava flavoured gin.
Closer to home, The Royal Collection has launched Buckingham Palace Dry Gin to mark the King’s coronation. The small batch gin boasts botanicals gathered from the Palace’s gardens.
Unusual flavours or limited-edition releases are particularly well suited to giving flavoured gins as gifts or to enhance celebrations.
Seasonal flavours also suit gift-giving. Christmas-themed flavoured gins are surefire winter winners, whether the focus is on flavour – like the Mince Pie, Spiced Apple, and Christmas Pudding creations seen last year – or aesthetic – using light-up or gold-leaf filled bottles.
For sunny seasonal drinks, Bathtub Gin has launched the first of its three-part limited-edition collection, a Rose & Cardamom flavoured gin; perfect for Spring.
Even with the most innovative and ambitious new creations coming to market, classic flavours always prevail. Demand remains high for traditional flavoured gins with citrus flavours and pink gins remaining bestsellers.
There is still some newness even in this, though. Blood orange has become the new go-to citrus, as one of the key flavour trends from 2022.
And classic flavours needn’t be basic. Berry and citrus-led flavours can be enhanced with extra herbs or botanicals – like Hensol Castle’s Strawberry & Hibiscus gin – or elevated through production processes focussing on sustainable sourcing, or marketing messages highlighting new recipes to use spirits in.
As well as driving sales with exciting or instantly recognisable flavours, marketing approaches can help to set flavoured gin trends.
Bold colours and alternative or sustainable packaging can capture attention, aligning with consumers’ lifestyles or values. Brands at all levels can use vivid colours and packaging to stand out, such as Boe’s and Whitley Neil’s signature looks.
Elsewhere, bigger budgets allow for endorsements from across the celebrity spectrum to get people talking. Personalities ranging from musician Ozzy Osbourne to former politician Nigel Farage have released ranges of gins. While these can raise a drinks’ profile, they aren’t guaranteed to increase sales, though.
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Even in the face of turbulent trading conditions, flavoured gin remains a hugely popular drink, appealing to a range of consumers and offering opportunities for creativity.