Gin-fluence and Reptuation

This week the Zeno London team grew closer to one of their favourite tipples – gin.

Gin is a firm favourite in the office pub, the Green Man, and some of us would argue quintessential to round off a tough working week.

The team visited the famous Beefeater gin distillery in London, one of only five remaining gin distilleries in the city. The tour took us through fascinating stages of gin history, a close look at how Beefeater gin is made and a gin taster.

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Here are some of our top takeaway gin facts:

  • The ‘Gin Craze’ was an unruly time in the 18th century when gin drinking in England spiked significantly after unlicensed gin production and heavy duty on imported sprits were introduced. Of the 15,000 known drinking establishments in London during that time, more than half were gin shops. Gin was blamed for social problems and the rise of death rates
  • Gin was nicknamed “mother’s ruin” for leaving many of London’s poorest in a state of unresponsive inebriation
  • By 1743, England was drinking 10 litres of gin per person per year
  • The British Government tried to slow gin making and consumption by introducing the Gin Acts of 1736 and 1751. Gin Act 1751 reduced the ‘gin craze’ by introducing expensive licenses to trade
  • The rise of the gin and tonic (G&T) came from British colonies in tropical countries aboard who used the drink as a method to consume quinine and reduce its bitter flavour

And some Beefeater facts:

  • James Burrough was the founder of Beefeater who started producing his distinctive style of gin in 1863. He bought a Chelsea distillery for £400 where he began distilling
  • Juniper berries have to be the core ingredient of gin. No juniper, no gin. Beefeater gin is made up of nine different botanicals: juniper, angelica root, angelica seeds, coriander seeds, liquorice, almonds, orris root, Seville oranges and lemon peel
  • The Beefeater formula has not changed from its original recipe created in the 1860s
  • There are only four distillers who create Beefeater gin today. The master distiller, Desmond Payne, is responsible for the creation of Beefeater premium: Beefeater ’24’
  • Every bottle of Beefeater gin is distilled at its London distillery

In recent years gin has shaken some of its past reputation and risen in popularity once more. New recipes, micro-distilleries, trendy brand associations and marketing to a younger crowd has fuelled the new ‘gin craze’. Conscious consumers are no longer seeking the cheapest drink on the shelf and retailers are showing their support by stocking small-scale brands and this is creating a great opportunity for brands to reposition the spirit as more than just the key ingredient of the humble G&T.

Another chapter is being written in the age-old story of gin and its association with London life.