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Off-trade and at-home gin trends to watch

Charlotte Gibbon, GB head of marketing at Diageo brand Gordon's, explains how the gin market is well placed to take advantage of increasing off-trade activity.

Charlotte Gibbon Gordon's

How are Diageo’s off-trade gin sales performing at the moment? Obviously, it’s been a hard 12 months for the on-trade, but is off-trade picking up the slack?

There is no denying that the past year has been incredibly challenging for the hospitality industry. But with more people spending time at home, there have been opportunities for the off-trade to help customers create great moments that emulate out-of-home experiences. 

People are drawn towards brands they have a strong association with, and buy products for taste and quality reassurances. As the UK’s favourite gin brand, Gordon’s has been performing particularly well.  Since March 2020, gin variants have contributed +£29.5 million worth of value sales vs YA, with Gordon’s accounting for 78 per cent of this growth. Furthermore, Tanqueray London Dry has been growing its share +16 per cent in the off-trade vs YA. It is amazing to work with such great brands that capture the interest of consumers year-on-year.


Have there been any off-trade sales trends that have surprised you in the past year?

Convenience has played a major part in decision making for some time; people want drinks that are easy to recreate at home without sacrificing on quality. Of course, this isn’t necessarily surprising but is key to note. The RTD (ready-to-drink) category is continuing to grow in popularity and is now slightly ahead of the current off-trade BWS (beers, wines and spirits) market at 22.5 per cent. We’ve already seen many gin brands respond to this opportunity with the introduction of RTD ranges – new innovations such as Gordon’s Pink Martini (5% ABV) are not only convenient options for consumers, but encourage further exploration of the category. 

The increase in demand for premium-quality drinks has also meant we’ve seen a rise in demand for Tanqueray London Dry. Known for its botanical notes of juniper, the distinctive flavour profile of Tanqueray London Dry means it can be easily used as a base to create simple serves. It’s a spirit that can be enjoyed at home, simply with a quality mixer and a fresh garnish to complement its flavour profile. 

Premium gin brands have also capitalised on the ever-growing RTD trend. For example, in April, Tanqueray London Dry is set to introduce two brand new ready-to-drink (RTD) 250ml can formats for Tanqueray London Dry Gin and Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla Distilled Gin (6.5% ABV) providing consumers with an easy-to-transport and convenient new way to enjoy quality mixed drinks. 


Why does gin make a good option for ‘at-home’ drinking experiences?

Gin is a very versatile liquid and forms the base of many popular drinks. A classic G&T is an example of a simple serve that does not need to be complicated to be high quality. People can experiment by using a range of classic tonics, or infused mixers to add a unique twist to a classic serve. In warmer months, gin-based Spritz serves can be popular as they are easy to make and a great way to elevate the at-home occasion. A gin-based cocktail can be kept simple for those looking to enjoy an uncomplicated yet great-tasting serve, or dialled up to create a more premium experience. 

Pink gin has been one of the driving forces behind the category’s growth – it has been a trend popular amongst young-adult drinkers and encourages exploration of the wider category. This has been led by products such as Gordon’s Premium Pink Gin (37.5% ABV) which was the biggest spirits launch in the last decade. Since then, exploration within the category has continued, with an increased interest in new flavour profiles such as citrus, evident with the introduction of products such as Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon (37.5% ABV).

There is still more growth potential through innovation. People can now try different serves and personalise their G&T based on taste preferences. Most recently, Tanqueray introduced Tanqueray Blackcurrant Royale, the newest addition to the premium gin’s portfolio and an extension of the brand’s commitment to introducing rich and exciting new choices to the market.


Will the at-home trend last post-Covid? If so, how may it adjust once the on-trade reopens?

The ‘Big Night In’ occasion has been a key trend for some time, so we can expect this to continue, especially as people have found innovative ways to create great moments at home. People have missed social gatherings with family and friends, so even though they’ll be a desire to return to the on-trade, at-home occasions and entertaining will still remain prevalent. 


Gordon’s now has an alcohol-free option in its stable – where do you see the ‘no and low’ trend going? How do Diageo’s gin brands plan to respond to it?

The no and low alcohol category has been building momentum for a while and awareness has grown significantly. It is now worth £150m RSV in the UK off-trade. Social occasions are becoming increasingly diverse to cater for those who choose not to drink alcohol as well as those who do.

We’re committed to providing consumers with choice to suit a range of different occasions and we don’t think people should have to miss out on the flavour or experience when choosing an alcohol-free drink. We very recently launched Gordon’s 0.0%, an alcohol-free alternative, and this is already the top-selling no and low spirit in the off-trade.

The no and low category is still in its infancy, so leveraging well-known brands such as Gordon’s is key to driving trial. We want those choosing to drink an alcohol-free alternative to have confidence that they are enjoying a product that is of high quality and will suit the occasion perfectly.

(Figures according to Nielsen and Kantar data.)

18 February 2021