Whisky Focus - Whisky Distillers Cashing In on Gin Boom

Whisky Distillers Cashing In on Gin Boom

10th January 2017

New craft whisky distillers cash in on Gin boom by anchoring their business with Gin revenues.

Strathearn GinThe demand for the new generation of not so traditional versions of Gin is booming and this booming demand has been a gift for Scotch whisky makers, including some new smaller craft distilleries that have anchored their business with gin revenues while waiting for their Scotch to mature.

Demand is booming for some strange brews of Gin such as Gin produced using seaweed, rhubarb, Christmas pudding and believe it or not even ants - all ingredients used by a new generation of gin makers enjoying a booming British market.

Gin can be produced in about a week whereas Scotch whisky takes a minimum of three years, but in practice most Scotch Whisky matures for much longer, anything from five to thirty years and sometimes longer. The equipment needed to make Gin and Whisky, alcohol stills, is the same. Scotland which is famous for producing whisky, also makes about seventy percent of the gin consumed in the UK, and produces its three leading brands.

"It's essentially the same thing. You track whisky back and its root is basically gin," said Tony Reeman-Clark, who set up his Strathearn distillery in Perthshire in 2013 with about 250,000 pounds in financial backing via friends, family and a loan.

While waiting for his whisky, Reeman-Clark has made, among others, an after-dinner gin to be sipped neat, matured with the stave of a whisky barrel in it for flavour.

There has been a surge in small artisan distilleries in the UK, and of 250 of them almost 100 have opened in the last two years.

"It's well known, there is always a market for gin and you could see it was starting to change because people were bored with the big-boy gins,"Reeman-Clark said.

The amount of gin being drunk in bars grew 14 percent by volume and 19 percent by value in the year to October 2016, according to the wine and spirits trade association.

But whisky sales in the UK are still worth more than twice those of gin. The overall British spirits market is growing at 3 to 4 percent annually, ahead of overall economic growth of about 2 percent.

Last month the Strathearn distillery sealed their first 100 bottles of whisky which were three years and a day old. The first half litre of it sold in an online auction for 4,150 to a collector of special whiskies.

Other producers such as the Harris Distillery in the Hebrides, at the north-western tip of Britain, and the Cotswold Distillery in the heart of rural England, are doing essentially the same thing, producing quality gins which are distinctive while they wait for their whisky to come of age.

Brands like Gordon's are still popular but are certainly losing share to these new craft distilleries, the question is how long the newcomers can last producing gin and just how much whisky are they producing to mature to be sold in years to come.

You will find a great range of craft Gins such as Strathearn Gin available from most of the online specialist whisky shops including Master of Malt

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