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Innovation in the spirit business: Is it innovative to bring a gin with some slightly different botanicals on the market?

The rant is going on! This time: Gin.

There are definitely quite a lot of great gins on the market. And if you ask me, these are mostly the ones, which are carried by more than 45% alcohol.

As gin is literally in all mouths, the spirit industry continues to push more new gins out. But I am questioning the reason.

Yes - a very specialized bar could taste every single gin cocktail with different gins and decide, which gin to use. However lets be honest, with business on one hand in mind and marketing on the other hand, most bar owners, managers and bartenders will settle either way on their pouring gin or on a gin, which finds quite some recognition under the customers.

So the question remains - how many gins do you really need in a bar.
If you see it pragmatic here the result:

  • Standard [London Dry] gin - usually around 40%.
    • This is your Gordon's, yes your "normal" 40% abv Bombay Sapphire, your Beefeater and maybe also your Plymouth. Yes I know, Plymouth is not a London Dry - but it really taste and behave like one…
      • Actually you need this gins, if you like to keep your beverage cost low, and if you have some very price conscious guests. In a great bar, I would directly go to a "proper" gin.
  • Good quality gin / deluxe / premium if you wish...
    • This would be your Tanqueray classic, Bombay Sapphire 47%, maybe Hendrick's and locavore gins, which might not be considered as premium/super premium.
      • This gin is either way stage 1 of your up selling gins or your pouring, if you are having discerning guests [with taste].
  • Premium / super premium gin / specialized gins
    •  Some gins like Tanqueray ten, Saffron gin, Junipero, Plymouth navy strength, Gin Mare
      • This would be your stage 1 up selling gin, in a very quality driven bar or your stage 2 gin, in a rather normal bar. Also it can be used for specialty cocktails, which are really focussing on the specific quality / character.
  • Old Tom
    • I believe, that the big craze of Old Tom is over, but it is always nice to have this "living fossil" in your selection [great for few cocktails]
      • Truth has to be told: you are able to do a "fake Old Tom gin" with some drops of orange flower water. some rather light single malt [or you could use oude jenever] and some sugar. 
  • Genever
    • You really don't need it, unless you are living in Holland
So in reality you need 2 maximum 3 different gins in your bar.

And this makes the whole "innovation" in the gin market so pathetic! Instead of doing something outstanding and different, the companies are making the same old London dry. Boring. 
Yes the character is different - but these are most of the times nuances. It is not eye widening.
Even worse - the companies [most of them multinational spirit companies, who learned too well out of the vodka market] balancing their lack of risk taking and real innovation with great marketing effort, to advertise the new product.

To be honest - I don't want to taste another gin, which is just nuances different than any other gin. I want to taste a leap. A gin which dominates and which is controversial. A gin like e.g. Junipero - which doesn't take prisoners. Not a gin like Bombay Sapphire East, which just throws pepper and lemongrass into their proven recipe [and even is also sold at 40% abv].



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