• Jamie Lister

What’s special about craft gin?

Good branding comes from knowing what’s special about your product and why that matters to your target audience.

Carlsberg know that contemporary Danish craftsmanship delivers the best beer in the world (probably)

Easy stuff for a new craft gin: most early customers are locals or tourists, many of whom have met the distillery team at events, pub tastings or distillery tours. This personal connection creates diehard fans, even if the bottle and its contents are a work in progress.

Local is becoming a narrower concept every year, as demonstrated by 51 products from 15 different Cornish distillers

Breaking out of the neighbourhood and becoming a national brand means winning over some tougher customers. First there are the drinks buyers of distributors, retailers and on-trade groups: umpires of fortune who demand a full house of a great liquid, a good brand name and a well-designed bottle, alongside a bullet-proof supply chain and a healthy profit margin.

There is intense competition to be one of the 23 gins on the shelves at this UK Waitrose store

The true test of branding comes from their customers: can the bottle communicate the relevance of that special feature whilst vying for attention on a shelf beside better-known gins?

The brands that succeed at this level catch the eye of the ultimate craft gin shopper: the directors of the twenty or thirty global drinks companies who might see a place in their portfolios for one of the best craft gins.

Is "intricately realised" gin from England's Silent Pool an idea with global appeal?

If they decide to make an offer, it will be based on the answer to a single question: “Can we scale this brand within our global distribution network?” In other words, “Can the special qualities of this gin be important to drinkers all around the world?”

21st Century Brands have looked at the world’s top fifty best-selling premium gins and asked that question. There are some surprising conclusions – get in touch if you’d like us to share them with you.

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