Gin is a relatively new category that is garnering a lot of buzz, especially among China’s youth. Despite the fact that it has been accessible in the country for more than two decades, many customers still have trouble distinguishing it from other white spirits such as baijiu.
Despite the fact that gin only accounts for a small portion of the Chinese spirits market, importers and distillers remain optimistic about its future in the country. The adaptability of the alcoholic beverage appeals to China’s growing appetite for lighter, more refreshing beverages. Consumers are growing more experimental, experimenting with liquors other than whisky and brandy.
Riding the Craze
In China, successful gin companies such as Hendrick’s and Monkey 47 have learned to tailor their offers and strategies to their target consumers’ preferences. The distinctive blend of cucumber and rose in Hendrick’s Gin appeals to the Chinese. Its Midsummer Solstice is popular among female consumers because of its sweet and fruity flavor.
At 550 RMB per bottle, Monkey 47 is one of the most costly brands on the Chinese market. It’s also the first product of its kind in the country to be sold in high-end supermarkets. It holds master seminars for bartenders in order to better reach customers. In terms of shape and color, Monkey 47’s packaging and design sends a strong message.
Other brands, such as G’Vine and Four Pillars, have developed strategies to cater to the Chinese market. Modern and inventive combinations, such as the Ugni Blanc grape infusion, are available in French gin. It’s also great for making drinks. Four Pillars, an Australian small-batch company, organizes tastings on a regular basis.
Some gin importers have tweaked their ingredients to tailor their products to the Chinese market. Traditional dry gins, such as those with juniper as the dominating flavor, can be too strange to a Chinese customer who has never had the spirit before. Those with softer, more modern flavor profiles have a better chance of succeeding in the market.
Younger Chinese drinkers appreciate the London Distillery’s totally organic products, such as Dodd’s Gin and Kew Organic Gin. The company teamed up with Gotham East, a Chinese firm, to develop a unique gin that incorporates Chinese flavors, ingredients, and aromatics.
Meanwhile, Peddlers Gin, one of China’s first worldwide spirits, features a bottle, typography, and overall image influenced by Shanghai in the 1930s. Sichuan pepper and Buddha’s hand citrus peel are among the botanicals used by the brand. The Sichuan pepper imparts a peppery flavor to the gin without being hot.
Gin is a more difficult sell in China because it isn’t well-known and doesn’t have age declarations like whiskey and Cognac. Many distillers are seeing potential as more Chinese consumers seek premium, handcrafted flavors in their alcoholic beverages. Gin is an intriguing category that has gained popularity in China over the last decade, and based on increased imports and sales, it won’t be long until it becomes mainstream.