Pernod targets Generation Z with dedicated ‘Gin Hub’

French drinks producer Pernod Ricard has upped its focus on gin with the launch of The Gin Hub – an independent arm tasked with developing and innovating within the company’s portfolio of strategic gin brands to drive further growth in the category.

Sophie Gallois, managing director of The Gin Hub

Headed up by the former marketing director of Chivas Brothers, Sophie Gallois, the producer said its launch marked “a show of confidence in the future” of its gin portfolio, which includes Beefeater, Plymouth and Seagram’s.

Reporting to Laurent Lacassagne, chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, Gallois has been tasked with taking the project forward as a standalone entity that will “move quickly and nimbly” to grasp the opportunities that the growing gin category presents.

Beefeater, Pernod’s biggest gin brand, achieved volume growth of 4% in the last financial year, with organic sales growth of 5%, which it said had been driven by emerging markets including Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, South Africa and France.

Overall, the category has enjoyed incredible growth in recent years, particularly in the UK, which exported £474 million worth of gin last year, according to the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA), which has estimated that exports will hit the £500m mark before the end of 2017.

“Gin is the fastest growing spirits category, and premium gins are growing faster than Bourbon and Tequila,” said Gallois at an event to launch the concept in London yesterday.

“We really think this growth is going to continue for the next few years and that gin has a lot of room room to develop. To grab this opportunity, we thought Pernod Ricard needed to work differently. The Gin Hub will bring all of our strategic gin brands under one roof. This really is a great move that’s going to give more focus to gin with three key objectives; the co-ordination of brands, to work differently, and to win market share. We are going to be working in a more agile, entrepreneurial way.”

Gallois explained that the hub would be focused on innovation within the gin category, and would primarily be targeting millennials and the emerging “Generation I”, also known as Generation Z – the cohort born after millennials.

Gallois did reveal that a new gin product would be launched in October of this year, which remains under wraps for now. In addition, BEAT (a brand engagement and advocacy team) will be deployed the raise awareness of its gin brands among consumers through in-store activity, cocktail promotions and events.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time in the industry; the category is booming and we are eager to build on the strong, pioneering heritage of our renowned gins,” added Gallois.

“Aptly named The Gin Hub, we are creating a foundation from which our world class expertise, innovation and ideas can truly thrive. It will be an axis which revolves around gin thinking, appreciation, imagination and of course, brands.

“Each of our gin brands has an entrepreneurial spirit at its very core – we’ll bring this to life in everything we do, and in how we work, with an agile approach that builds on our successes to date.”

Last year the company bought a majority stake in German gin brand, Monkey 47, which it said at the time was representative of its further investment in the “fast growing” super premium gin category.  However this brand, for now, is not a major focus for The Gin Hub.

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