Article: Gin Gets the Rose Treatment

By: Robert Simonson

Photo: Lizzie Munro


For decades—even centuries—“pink gin” meant one thing: gin tinted with a few dashes of bitters. It was a simple drink, favored by the English and gin lovers. But pink gin means something different now.

A weird new breed of gin produced to be pink (sans bitters) was kicked off by small craft brands like Pinkster, which launched in the U.K. in 2013, and Wölffer Estate Pink Gin, made by a winery on Long Island. Recently, however, the big boys have been climbing on the bandwagon, including Greenall’s (Wild Berry Gin), Gordon’s (Premium Pink Distilled Gin) and Beefeater (Pink). These new gins get their color from every red and purple thing under the sun, including grapefruit, rose petals, hibiscus, blackberries, rhubarb, red currents, food coloring and, most commonly, strawberries and raspberries.

Drinkers have responded to gin’s rosy new look. Sales of Pinkster have doubled each year since it launched, while Wölffer Estate’s sales have increased from 1,200 bottles in 2016 to 30,000 this year. As of January, Gordon’s Premium Pink represents six percent of all of Gordon’s sales. Spain, long a lover a gin, has lapped it up. In February, Sophie Gallois, managing director of The Gin Hub—the name Pernod Ricard has given to the gin arm of its portfolio, which includes Beefeater, Plymouth and Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin—told the trade journal, The Spirits Business, that “In Spain… the pink gin trend accounts for 40 percent of all value growth within the total gin category.”

“People, if they read ‘pink gin,’ they expect what is coming to the market at the moment—gin flavored with berries,” says Alexander Hauck, co-founder of The Bitter Truth. “They are surprised when they taste our gin.”

Hauck doesn’t put much stock in the idea that pink gin drinkers are just rosé lovers leaping from glass to glass. Instead, he likens the gin producers’ motivations to those of the bourbon industry, which has put out dozens of flavored whiskeys in recent years. “The reason why they come up with gin with fruity flavors is to approach new customers,” he says, “young people who are not gin drinkers yet.”

Note: Excerpts taken from original article at