Its Gin time! Gin revolution in India

Vibhavari Madki Vibhavari Madki
Aug 18, 2020 6 min read
Its Gin time! Gin revolution in India

When we talk about Gin, the first thing that comes in our mind is the commercial shot by Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds(who owns a stake in Aviation American Gin) in 2019. The video gained a really broad engagement and fan base for its creativity.

Earlier, Gin had the tiniest section on the bar menu now has backed a wide section. Liquor lovers are indeed experiencing the Gin Revolution in India. Thanks to the increased demand for it, bar menus now feature global and homegrown craft gins. The main ingredient in the gin-making process is the juniper and while India does grow some, most of the brands source them from Europe.

But having said that India has a wealth of herbs from coriander, clove, lemons and few hundred more that are used in gins. It is a unique collection of ingredients that makes Indian gins interesting.

In India, gin has an interesting history. Having relatively fewer drinkers compared to whiskey and rum, gin, up until a few years ago, was considered as imported bottles of Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, and Scotland-produced Hendrick’s.

Ironically, to our surprise, the world-famous gin and tonic drink was originally created in India by the British East India Company to make quinine, a medicinal herb used as an antimalarial drug more palatable and sustainable.

Indian soldiers were assigned a gin ration, and the alcohol slowly gained an audience in the country. Post-independence, with a sharp focus on being self-sufficient and the importance given to ‘swadeshi’ products, gin was left to perish on the fringes and anything that circulated in the country was shipped over from England.

Revolution of Gin

There has been a notable revolution in the manufacturing and consumption of Gin in India. Gin currently forms only 1 percent of the 3 billion liters of alcohol consumed in India, per year, according to estimates shared by the organizations. It is expected to report revenue of $1.76 billion in India in 2020, and grow by a CAGR of 10.6 percent, as per Statista’s evaluation. The data as of now, the per capita consumption of gin in India stands at about 0.3 liters, Statista reported, adding that when adjusted for COVID-19, revenue from gin is expected to grow 14.2 percent in 2021.


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India’s gin was practically non-existent. This refreshing wave of craft gin-making and consuming in India is barely a year old but it’s already cementing itself as something we can depend on to grow beyond the ebb and flow of trends. There are currently only three craft gins in the country. But thanks to the hard work of some serious tipplers, the country now has ten gins to crack open and enjoy.

India got its very first version with Anand Virmani and Vaibhav Singh, the duo behind Nao Spirits who took it upon themselves to introduce an affordable indigenous alternative called Greater Than in January 2018.

In the year 2018 itself, Stranger & Sons (started a Startup) made its debut as another local gin to watch, featuring eight locally sourced botanicals. Moreover, a lot of classic gin cocktails such as the Gimlet and Last Word have been making a legit comeback, and Indian bartenders are cashing in on the trend creatively concocting their signature drinks using different liquor combinations.


Gin Brands in India

Made in India Gins!

With each Indian state having unique botanicals, culinary idiosyncrasies, preferences, and individual heritages that can be harnessed to create compelling narratives and flavour combinations – it’s a mystery as to why there hasn’t been more already. There’s so much to delve into, so much to explore for Gin makers. India is a region that is almost bound to create truly spectacular spirits should a craft revolution begin there.


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Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin

Made from a blend of botanicals such as lemongrass, Darjeeling Green Tea, citrus peels, juniper and other Indian herbs, Jaisalmer Gin is manufactured by Radico Khaitan in their Rampur distillery. The gin is a triple-distilled neutral grain spirit, re-distilled in a traditional copper pot still.

The spirit was launched internationally in late 2018, before it launched in India later 2019. Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin was awarded the Best Gin Gold Medal 2020 by The Fifty Best, USA and also ranked Best in Asia 2019 by The Gin Guide Awards, UK. The gin is available in duty-free stores in India and in Delhi NCR and Goa.

Indian Gin Market Opportunity Analysis
Indian Gin Market Opportunity Analysis

Samsara

Distilled in the classic London Dry method using eleven botanicals organic hemp seeds, rose petals, vetiver grass, green cardamom and juniper berries. Saṃsara is a floral and citrusy gin with a hint of spicy earthiness.

The main ingredient, juniper, is sourced from Macedonia, but the other botanicals, such as Indian blood oranges, cassia bark, angelica root and rose petals, are procured from farms and organisations across India., Saṃsara is the first offering from the house of Spaceman & Company, founded by former PricewaterhouseCoopers associate, Aditya Aggarwal. Saṃsara will be available in Goa this September and in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago later this year.

Terai

Manufactured by the India Craft Spirit Company owned by the Swarups of Globus Spirits. Terai is the family’s first venture into the Craft spirit arena. “India has a history that’s full of tales of feasts and celebrations. We wanted to create a product that draws from this history without being ‘exotically Indian’,” explains founder Shekar Swarup.

The result is an attractive product that draws on temple architecture, numismatics and handicrafts for its design and plays with Indian flavours in a less than obvious manner. Swarup distilled the first few experimental batches, and then roped in Singapore’s expert consultants Proof & Co to weigh in on the final recipe. Terai is available in Delhi NCR and will hopefully be accessible across major metros soon.

Tickle Gin

From the makers of the famous coconut rum Cabo comes Tickle Gin, a dry gin from the state of Goa. There’s Himalayan juniper, orange peel, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, clove and even black pepper grown in the factory plantation of Adinco Distilleries. The gin is juniper forward with pepper and cardamom notes on the palate.

Tickle is produced using the cold extraction method, which Adinco Director Solomon Diniz tells CNT “helps maintain the characteristics of the spices in the gin and allows the spirit to be infused with a certain freshness”. It is currently available in Goa, and later this month, in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune.

Wrap up

Gin producers everywhere will benefit from a huge surge of interest from a market with potentially tens of millions of drinkers, but the exports that emerge, assuming they are the best of what will be created, will have both financial muscle and complex brands rich with engaging identities, stories and layers that will rival many on the international stage.


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