The Gin Trend In South Africa

While South Africa has certainly caught gin fever, it might come as a surprise that there are more than 110 local gin brands producing 250 unique South African gins dotted around the country.

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 Global growth of gin has increased year on year, accelerating dramatically for the past three years. New consumers and product innovation are the driving forces behind the sector’s international success. And why shouldn’t the alcohol consumers get excited about how, where and what they are consuming just like the food category.

People want to ‘meet the maker’ and learnt how things are made and where they come from. Craft gin can give us just that! Incredibly, according to The Guardian, British drinkers have been quaffing gin in record amounts during 2017, buying 50 million bottles in a spending spree that outstripped sales growth in beer and sparkling wine.

 SA, however, has the benefit of a massively diverse flora that provides botanical ingredients unlike anywhere else in the world, rooibos and fynbos among two of the most common examples. In fact,  SA is the only country in the world with an entire plant kingdom inside its borders. This, together with a local appetite for entrepreneurship has seen many distilleries popping up, crafting often adventurous, small batch gins to satisfy any palate.  

Gin has long been enjoyed in South Africa and, for decades, we have been drinking many imported British gins, because, up until recently, we had never really ‘South Africanized’ it. In addition, it had always been drunk with a simple tonic, but it could be adapted and made more original by adding hints of flavour, garnishes like pomegranates or rosemary, through to even changing the colour of the gin.

 There’s no doubt that there’s more bravery and fun with gin drinking, because there’s more versatility with it. In the same way that whisky experienced its own period of popularity, which will always endure, and craft breweries exploded onto the scene, gin has rapidly emerged as the new star player of the drinks cabinet and bar scene.

In this brave new world of gin, many drinkers are often apprehensive to try new brands, not knowing where to start, where to buy them, what to pair them with, which creative garnishes to use, and without any knowledge of the history of these new gins. The Gin Box is about indulging South Africans to the multitude of local gin brands, their unique stories and how best to enjoy them. After all, if you’re going to offer a drink like gin, there’s only one way to do it – with real flair and finesse. 

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