A shed can be many things, from a small store for the lawnmower to a comfortable place of retreat, but few sheds contain gin distilleries. And even fewer distilleries are housed in an award-winning Shed of the Year. But that is from where Inshriach Gin hails; 2015’s Shed of the Year on the Inshriach Estate, deep in the Cairngorms National Park. Where better, then, to hold the London launch of the newest edition to the range, Inshriach Navy Strength 57%, than East London’s stunning Shed Village; itself a contender for Shed of the Year in 2016?
The world of gin is a fast-paced one and there are few places where that is more evident than at Junipalooza. Last year, I attended as a lucky competition winner and it was that experience that spurred me on to start this blog. This year, I was fortunate enough to be invited back as a “gin-sider”, so to speak. And I’m not the only one: last year Finlay and Eileen Geekie attended as members of the public; this year they were behind the stall of their very own, highly acclaimed, Colonsay Gin.
These are interesting times indeed in the gin subscription service market. Of the five services that launched in 2016, Tipple Box and microbarbax have already long since dropped their spirit and gin clubs (although both still offer their original cocktail clubs). And, as Gin Explorer prepare to call time on their miniature subscription service next month, Master of Malt have just announced their brand new Dram Club. Things appear more stable at the full-sized end of the market with Craft Gin Club, launched in January 2015, still going strong. But the competition there is clearly heating up too, especially with One Time Gin preparing to take on everyone else with a variety of bottle sizes when they relaunch later this year.
With many gins come many gin awards. And even more medals. For even the most prestigious competitions have a tendency to award a multitude of medals. Consequently the value of such achievements is being diluted; forget bronze – even silver and gold medals make few ripples. And, perhaps more tellingly, most gin-lovers say they do not consider award stickers of being indicative of a gin’s quality either. A Double Gold (such as Pothecary was awarded at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition) certainly stands out within the industry at least, as does Hernö‘s recognition as “Europe’s most awarded gin”, but it takes something really special to catch the attention of the press and public alike. Something like Napue Gin‘s well-deserved title as “The World’s Best Gin for Gin and Tonic”.
Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is a rather special spot for me. It’s where my husband grew up, where we got married, and where our children now love to visit for fossil-hunting and rock-hopping. So you can imagine my excitement to receive a sample of the county’s newest spirit which hopes to capture “the invigorating spirit of summer on the Dorset coast”.
Perhaps better known as a craft beer subscription service, Flavourly.com have recently added a Gin Discovery box to their line-up and it looks pretty tempting indeed. Unlike all of their competitors, Flavourly offer their subscribers three 200ml bottles of craft gin in addition to mixers and snacks.
Limited-edition gins were predicted to be big in 2017 and, just four months in, that certainly seems to be the case. However, producing and marketing such experimental gins can be an expensive gamble; one that, despite potentially offering great rewards, is often too risky for micro-distilleries to attempt single-handed. Increasingly, distilleries are turning to a third party to help produce their limited-edition gins by spreading their risk and providing a platform to market the end product.