Craft gin is increasingly trendy worldwide. This year, the International Wine & Spirit Competition reported to have received nearly 400 gin entries from 35 different countries, which makes for nearly a 600% increase for the last two years.

Lesser-known, but bold new brands are taking advantage of the fact that gin can be produced more quickly than whisky, which contributes to the quick appearance of a number of craft gin distilleries. They experiment with new craft creations and evermore obscure botanical concoctions.

A new craft gin from Foxhole Spirits, for example, contains ingredients such as grapes, coriander, bitter orange and lemon zest, among others, and features citrus and floral notes. Such flavour characteristics aim to attract experimental consumers and reposition the popular cocktail drink as an aperitif to be consumed neat.

Interestingly, pairing gin with food may be encouraged by certain botanical flavours. Food to accompany gin can be cheese, pâté or Indian street snacks as suggested by the website.

Eco-friendliness is a rising trend among craft gin releases. The aforementioned Foxhole gin is made using a unique production method of pressing juice from unused English wine grapes that are normally thrown away after winemaking. In this way, sustainability is promoted by reducing industrial waste.

Another independent brand, Brighton Gin, is 100% organic and handmade. To highlight these qualities and keep its carbon footprint down, the producer delivers bottles of gin in Brighton and Hove on a specially adapted gin bike.

Localism is of great importance for craft gin producers. Brighton Gin is marketed as embodying “the spirit of Brighton: unusual, playful and fiercely independent.” Meanwhile, Foxhole London Dry Gin is being manufactured at the address Foxhole Lane, Bolney, West Sussex by a local vineyard. Locally produced, craft gin offers younger consumers more authentic, meaningful experiences while older generations value the nostalgia and heritage that it provides.

To top this, some producers try to grab consumers’ attention with a complete novelty. Earlier this year a company called That Boutique-y Gin has launched a limited edition “Moonshot” gin in the UK. Marketed as "out of this world," this gin is manufactured using a method that has never been used before in the alcohol industry. The ingredients are reportedly sent into near space, to altitudes of over 24km from earth, where they are exposed to an air pressure of less than 1/100th of that at sea level to generate a unique flavour. The manufacturer has cleverly decided to use YouTube to demonstrate how the ingredients are taken into space.

Social media plays a key role in popularising craft brands, mostly because they target millennials, who are prominent social media users. Craft Gin Club aims to reach this consumer group by selecting "one of the world's finest small-batch gins, including rare and exclusive bottlings not available elsewhere” and sending it to registered paying members “along with a range of complementary gourmet treats.” This business model encourages experimentation, which is one of the most important current industry trends.

E-commerce is essential for craft gin brands and will be increasingly so for the bigger names.

A consolidation trend has already emerged. Last year, for example, Liverpool Gin was acquired by Halewood Wines and Spirits – an international group worth £230m in revenue which has Red Square vodka, Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Ale and Tsingtao beer in its portfolio. London gin maker Sipsmith was also taken over by spirits giant Beam Suntory in 2016 and the Edinburgh Gin brand was taken on by Macleod Distillers.

Acquisitions are likely to continue, as big brands are increasingly interested in the craft gin space. Promoting authenticity, heritage and quality will be of crucial importance, as well as provenance and focus on unique consumption experiences.

English gin will keep coming up with ever-more obscure botanical concoctions and small batch releases while approaching premiumisation using signature recipes.