Waitrose and Gerry’s were among the big winners as we dedicated an entire day to thinking about gin, debating its future and most importantly drinking it.
Gin continues to be the star performer in the UK drinks trade, with off-trade value sales up 13% and on-trade sales growing 19% (Nielsen and CGA, year to October 2016).
At Agile Media we specialise in covering drinks industry and through our stable of titles – Off Licence News, Harpers Wine & Spirit, The Drinks Wholesaler and Class – we reach every important buyer and decision maker across the retail trade, restaurants and bars.
We are committed to equipping them with everything they need to know to curate the perfect range and maximise profits, and we constantly advise them to give more space to gin as it is flying off the shelves and back bars.
In the 12 weeks to December 31, 2016, an extra 300,000 shoppers bought into the gin category (Nielsen) compared to the previous year.
Credit must go to the wonderful array of producers making it such a dynamic category – and dozens exhibited at Think Gin and supported it – but a lot of its success is also down to progressive retailers giving it more shelf space, creative bar operators broadening its appeal by using it as the base for a wonderful array of cocktails, wholesalers arming the trade with a plethora of exciting gins, and writers, bloggers and industry personalities working tirelessly to spread the word about what a great drink it is.
We were delighted to be able to take this opportunity to reward some of the leading proponents of gin through Think Gin Awards.
We recruited a broad panel of industry experts and asked them to name their choices in each category in a closed, independently audited voting system, ending up with the shortlist, before winners were decided. To be nominated for an award is a tremendous achievement and an endorsement of quality from the experts. To win a gong is really something to shout about.
The first went to The Oliver Conquest, named the UK’s best independent gin bar.
Gerry’s Wines and Spirits, the Soho institution, was named best independent retailer after being nominated along with Amathus and Master of Malt.
Mr Fogg’s won the award for best gin bar with multiple sites, ahead of The Botanist and Hawksmoor.
Majestic, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose were all up for the multiple retailer gong, and Waitrose took it home.
Best gin wholesaler went to Speciality Drinks, which was said to have a peerless range of gins.
The Gin Communicator of the Year award went to Leon Dalloway, nominated along with Emma Stokes and Jared Brown.
Finally, the Lifetime Achievement award went to Christopher Hayman, patriarch of England’s oldest gin distilling dynasty, who has been a hugely influential figure in helping the category grow.