In an effort to get to know our customers better, at the start of 2022 we set out to really dig under the hood of what makes a UK gin consumer tick.
We wanted to know what the good gin drinking folks of this country were up to when they enjoyed a tipple of Mother's Ruin.
It's really damn hard to find this sort of information on the UK gin market as a whole. And whilst we'd love to sit down over a G&T and chat to all 13.5 million gin drinkers in the UK, we thought we might just struggle to fit that into our busy schedules. 🤣
Either the information is locked away behind some stupendously expensive market research report (which often has a lot of data you don't need)...
Or, more likely, this sort of information just doesn't exist. We searched high and low, but our friend Google simply returned nothing of use to us. Nada.
We decided to conduct our own national gin survey. One that captures the UK Gin Market as a whole.
We surveyed 391 gin drinkers in the UK, making it a representative survey of UK gin consumers. This was a random sample, and so we received responses from gin drinkers from all parts of the UK, as well as a complete mix of demographic and socio-economic characteristics.
And because we're nice, we thought we'd share some of the headline results with you below.
For more information about Jim's Big UK Gin Survey 2022, please contact me using our website chat widget.
So, what the heck are UK gin drinker's drinking then?
It's a photo finish between PINK/FRUITY GINS and TRADITIONAL, DRY GINS.
Hmmm, two very different types of gin. One-third of the UK gin drinking public rank pink gins as their fave, whilst one-third put a more classic, traditional dry gin as their no.1 choice.
We definitely see the clamour for pink at our gin bars, where our Rhubarb Gin is more often than not the best-selling out of all of our gins.
Interestingly, almost one-fifth of gin drinkers can't pick their favourite type of gin as they simply love them all! This type of consumer has grown massively in recent years as the UK gin boom has exploded, meaning that there are an almost limitless number of quality craft gins and flavours.
Wowza, LEMONADE takes poll position as the UK's favourite mixer with gin.
We had a hunch that lemonade would be popular, but we never imagined it would claim the no.1 spot, and by quite some way.
As you'll see below, this is largely driven by gin drinkers under 40. That being said, Gin & Lemonade is definitely not the exclusive tipple of 18 year olds, which is often what the industry likes to stereotype. It's popularity has trickled up the age groups to those well into their 20s and 30s.
Next up were your more traditional Indian tonics and light/skinny tonics, illustrating that many gin drinkers still want a more classic G&T, or want to "taste the gin" as you often here (meaning that flavoured mixers tend to overpower the gin, in some cases).
Go on, tell us more about these Gin & Lemonade lovers...
When we dug a little deeper, we discovered Gin and Lemonade drinkers are more often than not drinking PINK gin with lemonade.
And why the hell not. Have you tried that combo? It's bloody refreshing, especially in Spring and Summer.
There's no denying that Pink Gin & Lemonade is skewed more towards women than men...
But we are seeing more and more blokes drinking from our summer Pink G&T menus at our garden bar in Elephant & Castle.
When we ask our customers why they enjoy a pink gin with lemonade, they often comment that they "prefer something a little sweeter" or "don't like the taste of tonic", or quite simply "coz it's so refreshing!".
Interestingly, Gin & Lemonade is firmly the drink of those under 40.
We found that gin drinkers into their 40s, 50s, 60s and above increasingly enjoy pink gins, but are more likely to be a bit more traditionalist in rating a more dry, or clear gin as their favourite.
As a relatively new category, those over 40 also grew up without pink gin really being a thing, and so old habits die hard, especially with people's tastes and consumption preferences.
When and where are people drinking gin?
I mean, it's no wonder the OFF-TRADE UK Gin industry is worth about *£1.2bn per year 🤣🤣🤣
Half of all gin drinkers in the UK either drink gin at home around once per week, or multiple times per week!
Perhaps this has been distorted a little by Covid (when home drinking and cocktail making skyrocketed), so this may reduce slightly as we head further away from those horrible lockdown times. But still, this just goes to show how huge the UK gin market is and how it's such a fabric of British life to enjoy a G&T at home on a frequent basis.
It's no surprise that most UK gin drinkers buy their gin from a supermarket (either in-store or an online home delivery).
What is interesting is how many gin consumers have purchased a bottle of gin from a smaller, independent or boutiquey style stores (such as a deli, liqour store, farm shop, garden centre, and so on). Almost 1 in 4 said they'd purchased from a store like this.
Gin's biggest competition is with Beer and Wine.
Gin may now be the UK's most popular alcoholic spirit, but over half of UK gin drinkers consume beer at least once per month, and over a third consume wine at least once per month.
1 in 5 UK gin drinkers also enjoys rum at least once per month, and we expect this to rise rapidly and start to eat Vodka's lunch (and probably gin's) over the coming couple of years.
Watch this space for our own range of Rums, too. 👀
Some other insights...
Whilst we were at it, we wanted a rough measure of our brand awareness with UK gin drinkers!
We were pretty chuffed with the result to be honest, considering we only pivoted from a gin bar business to a fully-fledged distillery on the first day of lockdown in March 2020.
We grafted long and hard during the dark days of Covid to get our G&T Survival Packs delivered to 1,000's of homes across London (personally delivering them a lot of the time), and then expanding this nationally.
We reached 100,000's of gin lovers across all parts of the UK via numerous social media campaigns, took out local South London print ads, and gained a lot of national press with our story, which has all contributed to more and more gin drinkers becoming aware of Jim & Tonic.
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