Why is gin so popular? Pexels

Gin is more popular now than it has been for more than a century.  

Is it because of its flexibility when it comes to recipes or the simplicity of its production?

We spoke to Hope on Hopkins co-founder, Lucy Beard and noted mixologist, Haroon Hafajee about the craze behind gin.

Beard said it’s a two-fold movement: partly driven by the “craft” movement, which saw the rise of coffee roasteries, craft beer breweries and markets, with a focus on artisanal products, with people valuing authentically, locally produced products, where they can see and get to know the individuals making these products and partly driven by the realisation that gin can be so unique.  

“The joy of gin is that no two gins are alike: different botanicals are used, and gins are also influenced by the base spirit and distilling equipment. What has really driven the boom is the increasing focus on local botanicals. South Africa has unique flora and this is being celebrated in an increasing number of locally produced gins”, she said.

Beard said a lot of people have been saying (actually for a few years now) that rum will be next but she does not think it will really be a match for gin though.

“I expect the gin “boom” will start to subside, but gin will continue to be popular, both in cocktails and in gin and tonics and people will continue to have a variety of different gins in their drinks cabinets and bars.  Rum doesn’t offer nearly the same breadth of flavour.

Hafajee said he thinks that gin offers consumers great flavour and variety at a reasonable price point.  

“We are currently spoilt for choice in terms of the specific flavour profile we want in a gin and also in the way we want to drink it – be it a simple G&T, one served with craft tonic and fresh fruit or herbs or spices or a great gin-based cocktail”

“I do think that rum will be the next trend but it will take SA consumers a while as it has been historically viewed as a cheap drink – also rum needs time to age and this increases its

price, which is something SA consumers are very sensitive to in these times”, he said.