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Gin Continues Its Revival At The High End, As Key Players Post Healthy Gains

November 16, 2016

Total gin volumes have struggled over the past decade, with U.S. consumption slipping by more than 1.2 million cases from 2008–2016. But the category has stemmed its losses this year, and Impact Databank projects that volumes for 2016 will be steady at just under 9.5 million cases. More notable is the progress being shown by the high-end players.

“Premium gin is in growth,” says Ned Duggan, vice president and managing director for Bacardi-owned Bombay Sapphire. “There’s a shift from lower-priced, domestic brands to imports, premium labels and craft brands.”

Bombay is projected to grow by 4.2% to 1.1 million cases this year. Led by its higher-end Bombay Sapphire ($25-$30) expression, Bombay has focused largely on building connections with mixologists with initiatives like its Most Imaginative Bartender competition.

The high-end segment is also being driven by Hendrick’s, which grew by 19.5% last year to nearly 300,000 cases. “Our focus is around the brand’s quirky and unusual branding, but it’s more about ensuring that people are familiar with the quality and uniqueness of the liquid,” says Jonathan Yusen, president and managing director for North America at brand-owner William Grant & Sons. “In 2016, we’ve seen growth trends similar to those of recent years.”

Meanwhile, Tanqueray ($25) has bounced back in recent months, and the range is expected to post 1.1% growth in the U.S. this year, to 1.33 million cases. The Diageo-owned brand has been focused on innovation, having added Tanqueray Bloomsbury—a more juniper-forward limited edition—in 2015, alongside the original Tanqueray and its Rangpur and No. Ten extensions. Additionally, Tanqueray is looking to drive buzz with its new “Gin & Juice” campaign, unveiled in September in partnership with entertainer Snoop Dogg.

At Pernod Ricard USA, volume leader Seagram’s Gin remains sluggish, but portfoliomate Beefeater is on track to make a 0.9% gain in 2016, improving on last year’s 2.4% decline. The Beefeater lineup includes its core offering ($20), as well as Beefeater 24 ($29), billed as a more modern version of a traditional London Dry gin. Beefeater also recently released the second iteration of its upscale Burrough’s Reserve gin ($70) in the U.S. —Christina Jelski

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