So, something’s been bugging me these last couple of months. Pink Gin. What exactly is Pink Gin?! It seems to have exploded out of nowhere over the summer.
Now when I was a newbie Bartender in 1995, back in those days Pink Gin was your normal House Gin, Gordon’s at my first Pub, with Schweppes Tonic...Fever Tree wasn’t a thing...and a dash of Angostura Bitters. It wasn’t a massive thing, but it was the reason every pub had a bottle of Angostura’s on the back bar.
Now, some 20+ years later, Pink Gin is a very different thing. But even the customer hasn’t really got a clue. They’re just ordering because it’s Pink in colour and naturally assume it’s fruity.
The whole thing came to a head for me, on an Event a few weeks back. I thought I’d play along just for the crack. A devoted Hubby ordered a ‘Pink Gin’ for his better half. I asked any particular G&T? He had no idea. So I grabbed a bottle of Brockmans Gin and a bottle of Fever Tree Aromatic Tonic and poured a "Pink Gin".
Long story short, 2 mins later I could see her reaction knowing full well that’s not what she wanted. This prompted the educating side of me. I called her over and asked what she actually wanted. Her reply was simply “well a Pink Gin, but I don't like this flavour!"
And that’s my problem. Consumers haven’t really cottoned on yet. Nor have half the Bar teams up and down the UK.
The actual pink Gin category, in my opinion, was started by Pinkster. I certainly can’t think of another “Pink Gin” preceding it. Except for Sloe Gin...but that’s been around since year dot. But since the Pink Gin explosion over Spring & Summer, every brand worth their salt has a released a ‘Pink Gin’. Raspberry. Strawberry, and other Berry infusions. Rhubarb. Yeah even Rhubarb should be classified as a pink Gin. You can’t argue...it’s Pink!!
Now, when you walk into a Bar and ask for a Pink Gin. At this stage of the category evolution, it shouldn’t be on the customer to be specific about what they want. It should be on the Bar Team to list out the options, as I guarantee 75% of Bars these days will at least have a Raspberry and a Rhubarb Gin. That’s without the Aromatic Tonic...or even Franklin & Sons Rhubarb, or Fentimans Rhubarb or Pink Grapefruit. So the education needs to come from the Trade first. We need to realise Pink Gin is a category in itself and start getting that message across.
Going back to my customer. If I’d actually gone with my first reaction and given her a Rhubarb Gin...because that’s my go to Pink Gin, turns out I may have put her in Hospital due to a Rhubarb Allergy. In her eyes, she thought she meant Raspberry Gin and all Pink Gins were Raspberry. She hadn’t contemplated it was just referring to the colour.