Yesterday we received the news that our gin
has been awarded a Gold Medal at the latest International Wine and Spirit Competition and we were all very happy but not surprised.
We had selected the gin well before the award, in a blind tasting together with several other Italian gins, and were very impressed with it, if anything, it proves once more that we have big noses for great Italian drinks, whether wines or spirits.
Gin is now very popular in the UK and beyond, I did not realise how popular it was until I saw our local Tesco Extra’s Gin range, possibly over 100 different bottles. Yes, the gin boom is nothing new, sales keep going up and have been for years, the gin itself is evolving, distilleries are experimenting, at the beginning of every year the end of the boom is announced, but the gin is always there, it keeps reinventing itself.
The other factor contributing to the gin boom is the change in drinkers’ habits, they are evolving, and I can’t see, at the moment, any other spirit able to replace the gin.
Italians don’t have an affinity with gin, the same way they didn’t have any with craft beer and beer in general, I do see a parallel between the two drinks, still, they have learned how to make it and learned quickly so much so, that Italy is now full of craft distilleries. The reason behind this proliferation of Italian craft distilleries was the absence of big gin players and the lack of a gin culture. This status quo has allowed small distilleries to enter the market and prosper. Italian gin is still very much local, with very few distilleries that have managed to expand beyond their regional borders or even provincial. Exactly like craft beer.
And like with the craft breweries, the market can only sustain a limited number of distilleries, and with the big players entering the market, eventually, some of the smallest will go, either through a consolidation process or simply because the business has become unprofitable. Making gin is pretty simple, however, it doesn’t mean that all gins on the market are good.
Even though Italians are new to gin, they are not new to making spirits, grappa
are the two most famous. Italy has an old and long tradition of making spirits and from grappa to gin the distance is small. Italy, due to its unique natural characteristics and the evolution of the gin, provides a unique resource for botanicals, allowing each distillery to use a unique recipe made with local botanicals, this is the most exciting element about Italian gin.
The Italian craft gin movement has just started in Italy and Italian gin is still an Italian affair, but slowly, it will spread outside Italy, meanwhile, celebrate with us our gin winning a gold medal.