F O O D & D R I N K Ginspired design THE GINTLEMAN, THE MIDLANDS’ LEADING RACONTEUR AT HOUSE PARTIES AND VENUES THROUGHOUT BIRMINGHAM, TAKES A LOOK AT THE RISE OF ‘GINSPIRED’ PACKAGING FOR OUR FAVOURITE TIPPLE With a dedicated World Gin day on June 8 - originally founded by local gin fan Neil Houston - the march of gin’s ‘on trend’ persona shows no signs of slowing down. There is now a mind-boggling array of flavours available, moving from traditional juniper botanicals to diverse tastes; swirling candy floss or smoked salmon gin anyone? Elevating a gin brand to enhance the liquid’s profile and getting the all-important bar presence or the wow factor in a consumer’s drinks cabinet are becoming pivotal. That’s why more and more brands are embracing eye-catching gin bottle shapes, materials or typographic labelling. It’s nothing new; the early 90s saw the iconic Bombay Sapphire blue design, while The Botanist’s embossed glass bottle features Latin botanical descriptions and an inadvertent naughty word search surprise on the front right of the bottle. 2016’s iconic Isle of Harris wave design came from creative team Stranger and Stranger and, more recently, Le Tribute, with its matching tonic brand, offers style and substance. Here I’ve showcased two recent 2019 releases that have featured on my narrowboat tasting cruises I run on Birmingham’s waterway network. Mermaid Gin’s stunning sculpted bottle is the result of a year-long redesign project by Isle of Wight Distillery owners Xavier Baker and Conrad Gauntlett. The bottle perfectly captures the essence of the island by representing the brilliant colours of the sea and the striking mermaid scale shape, with the bottle created exclusively from sustainable, recyclable and environmentally-friendly 100 per cent plasticfree materials. The distillery is also piloting a refill scheme enabling island customers to have bottles refilled on site. The gin itself is created using ten ethically sourced botanicals including rock samphire - the marmite of sea veg, a salty, parsley taste foraged from the island cliffs - Boadicea hops from Ventnor Botanic Garden and locally grown elderflower. Chapel Down in Kent, England’s largest winemaker, has released the third product in its premium spirits range after their Chardonnay Vodka and Bacchus (English Sauvignon Blanc grape) gin. Pinot Noir Gin, a world first, has been produced by distilling the grape skins leftover from the pressing process for their sparkling wine, blended with English wheat spirit. Producing an aromatic red berry, rosehip and rose bud taste to mimic the Noir’s flavour characteristics, it’s a grown up nod to the ‘pink gin’ category. The custom-made 70cl glass bottle links back to the two production processes; distilling and winemaking with the bottom half of the bottle reflecting a cut-glass crystal decanter and the frosted top half of the bottle denoting the classic wine bottle shape. Both available at Loki Wine in central Birmingham. 38
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