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East Anglia Future 50

Is the reign of pink gin over?

PUBLISHED: 12:30 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:46 23 May 2019

Has the pink gin industry reached breaking point? East Anglia's producers explain why it's here to stay. Picture: warrengoldswain

Has the pink gin industry reached breaking point? East Anglia's producers explain why it's here to stay. Picture: warrengoldswain

warrengoldswain

The gin industry "has reached breaking point" according to the East Anglian distillers which are being muscled off the shelves by mass producers.

(L-R) Bullard's stawberry and black pepper gin, Boadicea's Rosa gin and Adnams Copper House pink gin. Picture: Various.(L-R) Bullard's stawberry and black pepper gin, Boadicea's Rosa gin and Adnams Copper House pink gin. Picture: Various.

Beverage brands Echo Falls and Kopparberg have both launched pink gins in this month alone, competing with some of the region's best loved brands.

Boadicea is the gin-making arm of craft distiller Wild Knight Spirits, and launched its rosa gin a few months ago.

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"The gin market has already reached saturation point," said founder of the Beachamwell brand, Matt Brown. "According to market reports the gin industry is still growing but there's so much choice out there now."

Mr Brown said: "The big producers can compete on this scale because they can buy the shelf space and the visibility to go with it. If you look at a producer selling a bottle for £12 and you realise about £8 of that is alcohol duty, and then VAT is in there as well. That leaves you very little margin which we simply couldn't make a living off."

But both Mr Brown and Amy Hancock, head of marketing at Norwich's Bullards Spirits, believe their segment of the market is secure because of their product's quality.

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"I think the next big trend for the gin industry, also the drinks industry as a whole, is the consumer focusing on quality rather than quantity," Ms Hancock said.

Bullards usus fresh strawberries in its pink gin; strawberry and black pepper.

"With customers being more discerning and knowledgeable, they are the reason for the rise in premium gin sales, where quality and provenance matter," she added.

But despite the high volume of gin producers on UK supermarket shelves, the trend isn't set to move on yet.

Head distiller of Southwold's Adnams, John McCarthy, said: "When we entered the spirits market in 2010, the gin boom was in it's infancy. With so many new gins, the constant search for new flavours, has both enhanced and hindered the category. Some great products have appeared, but conversely, we now have products on the market which really push what can be actually described as gin."

He added that the gin market had become so concentrated due to high equipment costs associated with breaking into other spirit manufacturing, as well as the fact that some spirits like tequila are geographically protected.

So is the pink gin trend safe for another few years?

"With these constraints and the diversity of gins on the market, I can't see any changes coming for a while," he said.

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