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Pink gin just the tonic for drinks firms


Tipple: Peter O’Connor making pink gin and tonics at Cafe en Seine on Dawson St, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren
Tipple: Peter O’Connor making pink gin and tonics at Cafe en Seine on Dawson St, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren

For the Instagram brigade, it’s the perfect clinking glass of rose-hued seduction.

For others, the lurid pink wash is just far too reminiscent of a visit to the dentist.

But whatever the associations conjured up by a glass of pink gin – whether it be ‘notions’ or toothache – it proved to be the runaway success story of the year in the beverages market.

Sales of pink gin soared in 2018, according to the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI).

Irish consumers bought over half-a-million bottles of pink gin in the past year. There are now more than 20 gin producers and more than 50 gin brands in Ireland, with 12 new brands introduced last year.

The pink drink follows on from the earlier success story of the orange-hued Aperol Spritz – another Instagramable favourite.

In traditional gin, botanicals such as juniper, coriander seed, cardamom, fruit peels and cubeb berries are added to base alcohol to create that classic tangy ‘gin’ flavour. In pink gins, however, sugar and fruit flavours are often added to create a sweeter drink.

In its overview of the year, the ABFI found alcohol exports increased across the board in 2018, with the value of gin exports alone up 213pc to €4.2m in the first nine months of the year.

However, the industry has warned of potential risks that lie in the year ahead due to Brexit – amid additional fears of possible trade wars and tariff hikes in the US, despite positive indicators from across the industry.

They warned that a no-deal Brexit would be seriously damaging to the all-island drinks industry, with potential consequences including immediate tariffs on cream, barley, malt, glass bottles, apples, finished cider and other supply chain inputs and regulatory and custom checks at the Irish Border, leading to additional delays and costs.

Patricia Callan, director of ABFI, said the coming year will be a challenging one for the sector with a number of “homegrown and international risks” ahead.

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“We remain committed to supporting Ireland’s economy and will take on these various challenges and uncertainties head on,” she added.

The organisation expressed concern that while the Public Health Alcohol Act is now on the statute books, it claimed there remains “many unanswered questions in relation to how it will be implemented”.

And it said the ABFI will be continuing its calls on the Health Minister to establish an implementation group, to include the industry, in the coming year.

Overall, Ireland’s alcohol consumption continues to fall. Since 2001, the average per-adult alcohol consumption has declined by 23.3pc in Ireland.

However, beer remains Ireland’s favourite alcoholic drink, and took a 45pc market share in 2017.

Ireland remains a major exporter of beer, with exports valued at €273m, making Ireland the eighth largest beer exporter in Europe.

Irish Independent


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