‘If it says gin on the bottle, it should be gin in the bottle’ - Hayman’s of London asks industry to come together to call time on ‘Fake Gin’
England’s longest-standing gin distilling family are today calling for the industry to come together to better enforce the existing EU and US regulations governing what can and cannot be labelled as gin. Explaining why Hayman’s have chosen to take a stance on the issue, James Hayman comments:
‘Over the last ten years we have been lucky enough to witness first-hand enormous changes to the gin 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 to the category whilst maintaining the predominant juniper character that separates gin from other spirit drinks. However, recently we have started to see some distillers marketing gins that have little to no juniper character. 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 the juniper character that makes gin unique is protected for future generations to enjoy.’
Explaining why the London-based distiller has decided to launch the campaign now, James Hayman comments:
‘Since the demise of the UK Gin and Vodka Association there is no body to govern and enforce gin regulations in the manner of categories such as Scotch Whisky – and in the midst of a gin boom it can be difficult for those in the industry to rock the boat. That said, we know of many writers, bartenders and distillers who share our concerns regarding whether or not every gin out there truly delivers the juniper character required by law. In our view, if it says gin on the bottle, it should be gin in the bottle. We are hopeful that by raising the issue publicly we make it easier for those in the industry who share our beliefs to comment, to input and ultimately to work with us to ensure that gin is better protected for the future.’
The issue in question relates to the wording of the current EU and US Spirits regulations, which both state that to qualify as a gin the ‘predominant flavour’ of the spirit must be juniper. It is unusual for spirits regulations to rest on such subjective criteria and without effective enforcement this, says Hayman’s, lays the ground for producers to stretch the regulations to breaking point and beyond. Hayman’s Brand Director Jonathan Gibson elaborates:
‘Gin is defined by juniper – literally. If a spirit drink lacks a predominant juniper flavour it simply isn’t gin – and if that drink is then marketed as gin it is misleading, inaccurate, fake. Nobody benefits from that – least of all the consumer. Our campaign will tackle this issue of ‘Fake Gin’ on two fronts – by asking the industry to come together to enforce the existing regulations more effectively and by raising consumer awareness of the issue itself so that those buying and drinking the gins can make a better informed choice.’
Commenting on how consumers can identify for themselves what constitutes a ‘Fake Gin’, Gibson explains it all comes back to juniper:
‘We are asking both trade customers and consumers at home to ask themselves two very simple questions before buying a gin, putting it on a cocktail list or recommending it to others – does this spirit taste of juniper? And if not, is it a product that I want to support?’
Hayman’s are asking those who agree that gins lacking juniper character present an issue for the category to sign their Manifesto. With sufficient support the aim is to work with other distillers to establish an industry body that can govern and enforce gin regulations in the future. Explaining why it was important to involve others in the campaign
Sign the manifesto and view details of the campaign at: www.haymansgin.com/fakegin
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