In a time when COVID-19 is driving us to ‘life is cancelled’ state of mind, it is exciting to see new launches. For gin lovers in India, it’s the announcement of two new Made-In-India craft gins—Terai and GinGin. The launch of the two brands was announced back-to-back (within 15 days of each other) over social media.
Terai gin is a modern interpretation of the traditional London Dry style of gin, they call it India Dry Gin. The gin is distilled from rice spirit in Rajasthan and uses 11 botanicals—juniper berries, Tulsi, coriander, fennel, lemon peel, orange peel, lavender, rose, angelica and orris root—that are sourced from Delhi’s famous spice market, Khari Baoli. The elegant and vintage-style packaging uses imported cork from Portugal, which is encased in Channapatna ivory wood, while the label uses 100% cotton paper.
“We were all prepared to launch just around the time the lockdown was declared, so we had to delay,” informs Karina Aggarwal, brand strategist for Terai gin. But as time passed, it became obvious that the situation was not going to improve any time soon. “We decided to tap into digital media to drive virtual engagement for Terai. There was a risk that it would be lost in the absurdity of the times we live in. But we bet on the potential that the launch would excite consumers,” she adds. Terai gin will hit the shelves sometime in mid-August in Delhi and will retail for Rs 2000 for 750 ml.
Goa-based GinGin is a youthful brand made using single-shot vapour infusion of nine botanicals—Himalayan juniper, coriander, lavender, rosemary, caraway seeds, cinnamon, lemongrass, butterfly pea flower and hemp. The use of hemp is this gin’s biggest USP, making it India’s first hemp gin. The bottle is minimalistic in its design but includes utilitarian features such as the demarcations on its side that inform the consumer as the bottle gets over so that they can restock. For GinGin, this time is all about brand awareness and scaling up the business. “Our engagement is being driven only by the online and digital medium, which helps us since we are starting minimal funding. We want to use this time to steadily increase our production capacity without compromising on the quality of the gin,” says the 24-year-old founder of GinGin, Shubham Khanna. The brand will be available on retail in Goa by August 2020, priced at Rs 999, and will subsequently launch in Delhi and Mumbai.
Apart from their lockdown launch, both brands are also piggybacking on the unabated popularity of gin in India. Aggarwal says that the popularity stems from the fact that the spirit is very customizable. There are so many ways you can play around with gin and there are so many variations to experiment with. "There's a gin for everyone, people can now actually find their gin,” Khanna puts it. Aggarwal further adds, “Consumers are sharing real experiences more than ever and this audience is a curious set, always on the lookout for something new. Together with the fact that local and homegrown brands have become cool, it helps with the shared experience and making a connection in an isolated world.”
The popularity of homegrown Indian gin is such that there are around seven Indian gins in the market, including yet-to-be-launched Samsara, another hemp-based gin. Going forward, the space is worth watching out for.
Images: Courtesy GinGin and Terai