NZ distillery launches ‘first’ naturally black gin

As sales of coloured gins rise, New Zealand’s Scapegrace has created what it has called the “world’s first naturally black gin” which changes colour to purple when mixed with tonic.

Image: Scapegrace

Scapegrace, which is based in Canterbury, has launched a black gin which obtains its unique colouring from a blend of natural fruit and vegetable extracts including the black aronia berry, also known as a chokeberry, a sour fruit often used to flavour wine, syrups and jams.

Other botanicals include saffron, pineapple, butterfly pea and sweet potato. Scapegrace says each of the extracts were distilled at precise temperatures in a defined sequence in order to create the black gin.

The distillery describes the gin as having “full-bodied florality with a menthol-like crispiness, a balanced citrus freshness and a hint of spice with a candied sweet potato and pineapple finish.”

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, co-founders of Scapegrace Mark Neal and Daniel McLaughlin said the new release had proved so popular they had sold out of their three month supply on the first day of sales.

Neal told the publication that the sales were “beyond our wildest expectations”.

“Scapegrace has always been about challenging the traditional DNA of the gin category and Scapegrace Black is a true representation of that,” McLaughlin added.

The gin, which is bottled at 42.2% ABV, was available for NZ$79.99 (£40.45).

It follows news that the coloured gin sub-category is growing rapidly. Consumers bought the equivalent of £392 million worth of pink gin in the UK in the 12 months to mid May 2019, according to CGA, representing an eightfold increase based on the same period last year.

As reported by the drinks business, 2018 was a record year for sales of coloured and flavoured gins, with a multitude of new expressions hitting the market. In December 2018, the WSTA reported that “flavoured gin has driven over half of all growth in gin in the last recorded 12 months”.  Almost three quarters of the growth in flavoured gin can be attributed to pink gin alone.

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