Our new gins are just the tonic whatever the weather this summer

June 14, 2019

From spectacular showstoppers to alcohol-free botanicals, there's a drink for all occasions in our fast-growing gin range. Ed Sowerby writes about what to look out for this summer...

There's been such an incredible interest in new and innovative gins over the last few years and with its wave of popularity continuing to get bigger we've added five new gins and two non-alcoholic botanicals to our range of own label gins this summer.

One of the really interesting things about the rise of gin has been that people have been looking for a mixture of great taste, new flavour combinations, and a real sense of theatre – and as our own label gin range goes from strength to strength I think we're ticking all those boxes with our new additions.

Theatrical elements are quite a big deal for many people. If you're hosting a party or barbecue we keep hearing that people love being able to wow guests with something they haven't seen before, which is why we've created our vibrant new sweet shop-inspired gins, which are certain to be a talking point.

There are three new flavours – Lemon Sherbet, Pear Drop and Parma Violet. They’re deliberately theatrical, as a lot of the gins out there are clear or with a bit of colour.

Lemon Sherbet has a silver sparkle which looks excellent with a bubbling mixer. Pear Drop is a pink coloured gin with golden shimmer. It’s got a two-tone effect of bright pink gin and swirling golden yellow shimmer to replicate the colours of a classic Pear Drop sweet. And if you add tonic or lemonade to our Parma Violet gin will completely change its colour from purple to pink.

I think it's important for our range to have that element of fun which really resonates with our customers because one of the reasons people shop with us is for all the personality we offer in store – and we want to reflect that in our drinks.

We wanted to launch a range of traditional sweet shop flavours because nostalgia is a popular trend and these flavours, while strictly for grown-ups, do take you back to the flavours you loved in your childhood. They're £18 each and available now in selected stores and online.

The fourth new gin in our range is our Extra Special Scottish Gin, which is launching soon in our Scottish stores. It uses classically Scottish flavours and botanicals – lavender blossom, nettle and gorse – and I think it's delicious.

Our fifth new gin is an Extra Special Berry Gin. It's mix of blackcurrant, blueberry and blackberry flavours and builds on the trend for fruit flavoured gins we've seen after we launched our hugely popular Extra Special Pink Gin.

We also wanted to create something out of the ordinary for all those designated drivers and people who don't want to drink at parties and barbecues this summer.

It doesn’t feel as special if you’re just drinking a cola or a tonic water when you’re the designated driver, so our two new botanicals – Extra Special Non-Alcoholic Rhubarb & Ginger Botanical Drink and Extra Special Non-Alcoholic Premium Botanical Drink – answer that.

They're both available now online and in selected stores for £15. Non-alcoholic drinks like this are part of a massively growing category. As part of the range change we're giving more space to it and stocking it in store. No other major retailers have really done this before with own brand drinks, so it’s really exciting for all of us in the team.

I’ve just got one of the bottles on my desk at work and I’ve already had someone who doesn’t drink alcohol coming over to say how excited she is because she’ll be able to get on the gin craze like everyone else.

We're also ranging new Extra Special tonics to pair with the gins and have a new selected developed by my colleague Sarah Flood. We have had a mixologist working with us to recommend new tonic flavours to complement the gins and have developed this flavour wheel to help customers work out the ideal pairing.

I love seeing how excited people get about our new gins and gin liquers, and it’s going to be really exciting to see which ones will be the people’s favourites. Over the last few years we’ve been launching one gin at a time, so launching five at once will make it really interesting!

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