The UK have always been notorious for their love of wine and beer, however we have more recently become a nation of cocktail drinkers. For the first time in history sales of spirits have exceeded beer sales in terms of value. Most notably due to the gin boom the country has been experiencing over the last couple of years. There has been a particular infatuation with everything craft and UK drinkers are increasingly looking to spend extra on the more artisanal and higher quality products. Our history with spirits however is a long and illustrious one, with the UK being home to some of the most famous and important spirits styles and productions in the world; primarily Scotland with Whisky and England with Gin.
Although Gin’s origins can actually be traced back to the Dutch with Genever (Jenever), ever since the 17th century when William of Orange occupied the British throne and introduced the Brits to Genever; our love affair with Gin began. Gin became very popular very quickly, which ultimately entitled this period the “Gin craze”. And so to keep up with demand the government relaxed the laws on Gin production, legalising unlicensed distillers to make Gin. With this came a vast increase in distillers and different styles began to emerge, which were less sweet and more alcoholic in order to compliment the British palate; styles such as the Old Tom Gin. Another important evolution came in 1820, when Scotsman Robert Stein invented the column stil. A method of distillation which after further development from Irishman Aeneas Coffey, allowed for a much more practical method of distillation of neutral spirit, this led the way to the ever popular style of the London Dry Gin we have all come to know and love. The 1920’s saw the turn of another creative style which emerged due to the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. “Bathtub Gin” refers to a homemade concoction which was made by infusing a base spirit with whatever flavourings one had around the house. Supposedly a process often performed in the bathtub! This idea of using different fruits, herbs, and spices was soon adopted by the British and now if you look at the Gin shelves in any merchant or supermarket, the range of botanicals being used is vast. So rather than this being a new obsession, we are witnessing the resurgence of the Gin Craze! And the industry is only going from strength to strength, Gin sales have doubled in value over the last six years, with over 47 million bottles sold in 2017.
With our Bar portfolio we aim to provide a selection of styles which represent the fruitful history of the spirits industry, within and outside of the UK. Within the UK we are working with iconic Scottish Whisky bottler; Samaroli, organic Gin and Vodka distillery TOAD, who use ancient populations of heritage grain to create their incredibly unique and pure spirits selection and most recently a fantastic new passion project from industry experts Don Sutcliffe and Willie Phillips, The Exceptional Whisky Company.