Behind almost every bar across the country, gin bottles of all shapes and sizes line the shelves, ready to be picked, poured and paired with an array of mixers and garnishes. Whether it’s a simple tonic combination or a fruitier cocktail, many exclusive gin clubs and even local pubs now offer extensive menus, showcasing some of the most exquisite drinks around.
To be sold as gin, the product must have a minimum alcohol volume of 37.5% ABV and juniper as the predominant flavour. Aside from this, distillers have complete flexibility in creating unique botanical concoctions to grace the retail and bar industry.
Then – Not All Plain-Sailing
Once known as Mother’s Ruin, the 1730s saw gin-drinking as a favourite pastime for the country’s poorest, as it was cheap, strong and easily accessible. The Government’s passing of the Gin Act in 1736 forbade anyone from selling such liquor without taking out a licence first, so those that couldn’t afford this cheaply sold off their remaining stock, and more alcohol was drunk than ever before. Mainly snapped up by women, this led to neglected children, including daughters sold into undesirable ‘careers’, and crippling financial effects on the family as they did anything to get their hands on the much sought-after beverage.
Now – The Craze Continues
The gin craze has now led to the evolution of gin festivals, tasting events and distillery tours, while supermarket shelves are packed with industry-leading brands. Whether out or at home, it certainly cannot be missed, where UK sales reached £2.3 billion in the 12 months leading up to March 2019.
A staggering 54 new gin distilleries opened in 2018 – the equivalent of one a week – contributing to a total of 361 businesses now making spirits nationwide. This has led to an astonishing 135% growth rate since 2010, as smaller craft gin-makers have found their feet within this thriving market. However, as Gordon’s celebrates its 250th anniversary this year, we certainly can’t forget about the distillers built on heritage, as they have expanded, acquired and diversified to remain at the top of their game.
It seems that the 2010s has seen the ultimate comeback for gin and it certainly isn’t letting up any time soon. This leads to the question – how will distilleries continue to diversify their offerings to cater for such a booming market? More importantly, how can their production processes best cope?
Innovate Innovate Innovate!
As the market becomes more saturated, craft gin-makers need to present themselves with a unique range of products to really stand a chance. Where the likes of lemon drizzle and even Yorkshire tea have become just some of the latest novelty flavours, a gin-maker’s innovation can only become reality in the factory.
New testing laboratories and/or sampling areas can be easily constructed inside existing production facilities, so that gin-makers can allocate time and resources to finding the next perfect blend. Having a separate and dedicated space to trial new recipes and ideas allows normal production processes to continue without interruption.
Room for Growth
Where start-ups and small businesses make the move into the mainstream gin market, futureproofing their production facilities should be a key consideration. Having to stall production later down the line because demand is greater than their capabilities allow is not an ideal situation in this fast-paced industry.
Having the additional capacity to redesign, expand and modernise the space internally can be easily achieved with the help of a specialist fit-out contractor and is definitely a more favourable option than an entire relocation to larger premises.
Conforming to Requirements
Of course, where the production of food and drink is concerned, businesses must fulfil a number of Government requirements to safely bring their products to market. Environmental health, health & safety, hygiene and labelling are some that must have provisions implemented across the business. For example, a food-safe production environment, including FM Approved composite panelling and hygienic doors, will always eliminate issues concerning pests, dust and potentially harmful contaminants (e.g. allergens).
Other elements to consider; Does the distilling process of the product mean an ATEX-rated environment is required? Does the storage of products require areas to be fire-rated at the request of the insurance policy? Internal fit-out contractors are able to assist with the design and build of this type of work with expert knowledge of how they work in practice.
So, whether it’s a laboratory for trialling new recipes or additional partitioning to house new bottling lines for peak demand, solutions can be efficiently and safely put in place. When in a safe pair of hands, gin distilleries can be transformed, meaning the possibilities to grow within the market are endless.
Stancold have been working in the food & drink industry for over 70 years, specialising in the design and build of hygienic internal fit-outs as businesses expand, renovate and relocate. Our unrivalled technical expertise and strong experience in the field enables us to advise on the most suitable specification while working to our clients’ needs and budget.
For more information on the composite panelling systems that would be suitable for your business planes, get in touch with us on 0117 316 7000.
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