CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Share your views at our
inaugural Gin Debate

In April of this year we launched our campaign to Call Time On Fake Gin. Since then, the support we have received from other distillers, commentators, enthusiasts and trade has been overwhelming. It is clear that there is broad agreement that gin needs to be better protected but it is also evident that there are many differing views on the form that such protection should take.

To bring the many voices together, we are today launching the first of a series of Gin Debates to share perspectives from all parts of the industry on the topic: ‘What is gin – and how can we protect it?’

Taking place at our London distillery on the 6th of September and running from 10am-4pm the debate sets out to establish the common ground needed for meaningful industry-wide action on the issue of ‘Fake Gin’ to take place.

The day is open to anyone with an interest in protecting the gin category for the future and will feature discussions facilitated by a neutral third party as well as guest speakers from other parts of the drinks industry.

If you are interested in attending the inaugural Gin Debate on 6th September simply email distillers@hayman.co.uk to book your place. For safety reasons the event will be ticketed but free of charge.

Gin Today

Gin is in a stronger position
today than it ever has been

Over the last ten years we have witnessed first-hand enormous changes to the category – a wave of new producers, a renaissance of interest and a huge variety of new gins for consumers to explore and enjoy. The vast majority of these gins have added something new and exciting to the category whilst maintaining the predominant juniper character that separates gin from other spirit drinks – but there is a problem…

Recently we have started to see some producers marketing gins that have little or no evident connection to juniper. Gins with only trace notes of juniper – or a juniper character that is overshadowed by other more dominant flavourings, often added after distillation. While botanical innovation and experimentation has long been linked to gin’s success, we believe that a small number of producers are today creating spirits that have strayed too far from what makes gin 'gin'.

Such products undermine the work that the vast majority of distillers complete and run the risk of misleading consumers by blurring boundaries between gin and other spirit drinks. We are asking the industry to come together to ensure that everything we all love about gin is protected for future generations to enjoy.

If you agree that the future of gin should be protected, please sign our Manifesto below to register your support.

SIGN OUR MANIFESTO

Defining Fake Gin

The term 'Fake Gin' is a playful one but there is a serious point behind it. Specifically, when we use the term, we are talking about the small but growing minority of products released for sale each year that lack the predominant juniper character demanded by the European Spirit Drinks Regulations (Council Regulation EC No. 110/2008) or US Code of Federal Regulations (27CFR Part 5.22). These regulations are clear in their intent.

In the US, regulations demand that any gin must 'derive its main characteristic flavour from juniper berries', while in the EU similar regulations specify that:

Gin: 'is a juniper flavoured spirit' and that 'the taste is predominantly that of juniper'.

Distilled Gin: 'is a juniper-flavoured spirit drink' within which 'the juniper taste is predominant'.

London Gin: 'is a type of Distilled Gin'.
Therefore the above stipulations on Distilled Gin apply.

This provides little ambiguity around what makes gin 'gin'. It is the predominance of juniper flavour that sets it apart from other spirits.

When we say 'Fake Gin' we are therefore not referencing the many hundreds of innovative new gins that have brought fresh flavour profiles to the category while maintaining the predominant juniper character that separates gin from other spirits. Rather, we are talking about the small but growing number of spirit drinks marketed as gins that contain little or no juniper character – or background notes of juniper that are overshadowed by far more powerful flavourings.

We believe these gins fail to meet the standards set out for the category. We believe they undermine the honest work and creativity of the vast majority of distillers within the category and run the risk of misleading consumers by blurring the boundaries between gin and other spirit drinks.

If you agree that the future of gin should be protected, please sign our Manifesto below to register your support.

SIGN OUR MANIFESTO

What You Can Do

We are asking industry leaders, bartenders and gin enthusiasts the world over to join us in our campaign to Call Time On Fake Gin. There are several ways to get involved:

First and foremost we encourage everyone to be guided by their own palate. Nose your go-to gins, taste them neat, try to find the predominant juniper character that is required by regulations – and if you can’t find it then make an informed choice. Maybe a lack of juniper predominance won’t change the way you feel about the spirit but if it does then at least you know. And of course if you’re unsure what juniper should taste like then drop us a note at distillers@hayman.co.uk and we’ll be delighted to send you some juniper berries in the post to nose at home.

If you’re in a position of influence as a bartender or blogger and share our concerns regarding Fake Gin then we ask that you consider spreading the word with friends, customers or other contacts. Reach out to others, let them know what your palate led you to discover and encourage them to do the same.

And if you are an industry leader, distiller or brand owner, please get in touch with us directly at jonathan.gibson@hayman.co.uk. Let us know your views, opinions and beliefs. Let us know if you are interested in working with us to create an association to govern and enforce gin regulations. Our aim is to start a conversation within the industry that will ultimately lead to greater transparency for consumers – but we can’t do it alone.

And of course, we are asking everyone who shares our concerns to sign our Manifesto to register their support. The more support we can demonstrate the better our chances are of affecting change in the industry. Please sign our Manifesto, share it with others via social media, spread the word and together we can Call Time On Fake Gin.

SIGN OUR MANIFESTO

What We Aim To Achieve

Ultimately our aim is to see the gin category growing sustainably – offering consumers more and more choice by encouraging distillers to experiment and explore within the boundaries of the category but not outside of it.

In the short-term we will be campaigning to build consumer and trade awareness of the existence of Fake Gins. Knowledge is power and by making more and more people more aware of the issue we hope to change the way gins are evaluated, allowing trade and consumers to make a better informed choice led by their palate and a greater awareness of what does and does not legally constitute gin.

At the same time we will be building an industry alliance composed of other distillers who share our interest in ensuring that gin is protected for future generations to enjoy. Working with them and using the support demonstrated through the signatories to our Manifesto we aim to explore regulatory change and enforcement approaches that will put an end to the practice of Fake Gins once and for all.

One thing we will never do is to act as an arbitrary 'referee' – determining on our own what does and does not constitute Fake Gin. Our aim is to build knowledge of the issue on the part of those who buy, drink and serve gin and drive consensus within the industry of how to deal with it.

If you agree with our aims, please sign our Manifesto below to register your support.

SIGN OUR MANIFESTO

Why Does It Matter?

Some may question whether or not it really matters if a spirit drink labelled as gin meets the requirements set out within the relevant EU and US regulations. If it tastes good and if people like it – the argument goes – is there really an issue? We believe there is.

The EU regulations were created specifically for the purposes of 'consumer protection, the prevention of deceptive market practices and the attainment of market transparency.' These are not trivial points to be brushed under the carpet – they lie at the very heart of treating consumers fairly and enabling informed consumer choice.

We believe they are goals that are worth fighting for. That it would be remiss to stand by and do nothing as the market standards that were put in place to protect consumers are slowly eroded.

If you agree with our aims, please sign our Manifesto below to register your support.

Sign Our Manifesto

‘I believe that if it says gin on the bottle, it should be gin in the bottle. I support Hayman’s campaign to Call Time On Fake Gin and believe that any spirit drink labelled as gin should adhere to European Spirit Drinks Regulations (Council Regulation EC No. 110/2008) or US Code of Federal Regulations (27CFR Part 5.22).’

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