If 2019 was the year that the gin craze really exploded around the UK and the world, then 2020 – and many months in lockdown – was surely the year of the homemade cocktail! But a surge in interest in creating delicious (easy) cocktails at home wasn’t the only emerging trend in the world of gin, as lovers of the spirit decided to broaden and deepen their knowledge and love of gin, with attendance at online gin and tonic-tastings, cocktail masterclasses and sales of cocktail books soaring.
Gin-lovers are no longer happy to revert to the same generic brand of their favourite spirit week in, week out – at a time where food and drink are one of the only ways to experience novelty, gin drinkers want bolder, new experiences! The joy of gin, of course, is that by using botanicals native to a particular region, there is truly an infinite range of possible flavour profiles, and each and every spirit has its very own distinct and unique taste, aroma and appearance.
In 2020, Craft Gin Clubbers were treated to superb spirits from far-flung exotic distilleries from Hong Kong, Brazil, South Africa and Monaco, to name just a few! In 2021, we expect to see this growing desire among gin drinkers for more adventurous choices to continue – and we’ll drink to that!
Now, while this may sound like a direct contradiction to our first point – bear with us! At the same time as a growing trend for exotic gins, we are also seeing an increasing interest in supporting hyper-local gin distilleries.
Perhaps borne out of a desire to support smaller, independent businesses during lockdown, this trend is also a way for gin drinkers to connect to their home region in a more meaningful way – through the literal flavours of the plants, herbs and spices that grow all around them and that local distillers infuse into their gin.
In 2020, we treated our members to gins from independent craft distillers all across the UK, with wonderful spirits distilled in Whitby, the Scottish Highlands, Dartmouth, the Gower peninsula, and Ludlow, and the response was phenomenal – in 2021 we expect to see more and more of these micro-distilleries producing spirits made with ultra-local botanicals.
In 2020, in defiance of lockdown, the British turned to their love of gin, rolled up their sleeves, and started shaking up cocktails! Big Gin Report 2020 found that a whopping 65% of Brits made more cocktails in 2020 than in 2019, and a massive 90% of those surveyed planned on making even more cocktails in 2021.
With a third of people now boasting their own home bar, and two-thirds of respondents dedicating time in lockdown to online cocktail masterclasses or courses, we can expect to see a nation of true cocktail connoisseurs emerging in 2021, as confidence in this (frankly, essential) skill continues to grow.
To find out more about all the findings from our survey (including which age group considers themselves the biggest expert in gin knowledge!), check out the full Big Gin Report 2020.
What was the reason behind the surge in pre-mixed drinks we saw in 2020? Could it be that, deprived of the option to mingle with our friends indoors, we took (briefly, while allowed) to our parks and open spaces to enjoy the convenience of a picnic-style cocktail instead? Whatever the reason, 2020 saw an explosion in the number of ready-to-drink cocktails and pre-mixed gin and tonic drinks, both bottled and in cans. In 2021, you can expect to see an even greater choice of these ready-to-go takeaway cocktails on the market, with a wider and more sophisticated range of flavours, classics and innovations.
Sustainability & Ethical Practices
Sustainability, ethically sound and more eco-friendly production processes have become more and more important to distillers and consumers alike over the last twelve months, and, as the options available to companies start to grow, we expect to see many more brands adopting more planet-friendly approaches.
Low-alcohol and alcohol-free ‘gin’ alternatives
While it might seem a bit counter-intuitive to include a section on alcohol-free ‘gin’ here, this trend can’t be ignored! The popularity of non-alcoholic alternatives to gin has really exploded in 2020, and we don’t think this trend is going away any time soon. If you’re curious about alcohol-free ‘gin’ (what is it, really?!), then check out this article where we explain everything you need to know, including a couple of our recommendations for a few of the best alcohol-free gin alternatives on the market, if you’re looking to have a few nights – or even a month – off the booze in 2021.