We're in the midst of a gin revival! But how did we get here?
There is no doubt about it – gin is in. Once thought of as a somewhat miserable drink, no doubt due to its nickname of Mothers Ruin or portrayal in literature such as 1984, it is enjoying a well-deserved revival!
Gin has been derived from the Dutch spirit genever, which is the Dutch word for juniper. It was first bought to the UK by English soldiers who were supporting Dutch troops in the 80-years war. They used to drink it before battles, hence the term ‘Dutch Courage’. By the mid-17th century the British government had ruled in favour of unlicensed distilling which brought about a huge increase in back-street gin distilling. Due to its low price, it was highly popular amongst the working class and at one point over half the drinking establishments were dedicated gin shops! This led to an upswing in social problems, with children being neglected by drunken parents – which is where we get the phrase ‘Mothers Ruin’.
In 1751 the Gin Act was introduced. This regulated distilling, imposing licenses and heavy duty prices on production. Gin has remained a popular spirit, having evolved from the home distilled variety of 18th century London (which were often flavoured with Turpentine!) to more refined and developed styles such as London Dry and Old Tom gin.
Until recently, there were restrictions in place as to the size of still you could use to distil gin. The large quantities required to be granted a distilling license, meant that it was monopolized by major drinks industry players. In 2009 however, Sipsmith was founded, they challenged this licensing law and eventually, after years of lobbying it was overturned and the Micro-Distillery was born.
Anno began in 2011, when founders Dr Andy Reason and Dr Norman Lewis decided to take early retirement when their pharmaceutical research and development site was closed down. As big whiskey fans, they had both dreamt of opening their own distillery, however as they were self-funding this venture needed something that they could produce a little faster! Gin, was their next favourite tipple of choice! They opened the distillery in Kent, the garden of England, taking inspiration from all the natural botanicals at their disposal and in 2013 the very first bottle of Kent Dry Gin was sold.
Andy and Normans timing could not be better. The resurgence of small batch gin meant that distillers were able to handcraft their spirit and tailor the botanicals perfectly to achieve the desired flavours and aromas. This not only produces a much smoother spirit but overall better taste. This appeals to drinkers who have been bored of the generic, big gin brands for years and wanted products with history and provenance. This was the start of the ginaissance!
Fast forward to 2016, dubbed ‘The Year of Gin’, sales of UK gin exceeded £1billion domestically and £500million in exports! By 2020 the domestic gin market is expected to be worth £1.3billion. Gin has enjoyed such a renaissance, that it has now been added to the national ‘shopping basket’, a tool by which to measure inflation.
Anno have experience tremendous growth alongside the gin boom, with our sales growing by 45% year-on-year. We are now looking to take the next step and grow our brand even further. Spreading brand awareness to the far corners of Britain and expanding into global markets!
How are we going to do this? We will be launching a crowdfunding campaign on November 6th 2017. This will invite members of the public and Ginthusiasts to invest in Anno in return for an equity share as well as perks including annual tours and tastings and free gin! Sign up to our mailing list to recieve updates about our campaign!