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Pink gin and spiced rum lead Sainsbury’s spirits sales

Pink gin and spiced rum were the two big winners in the spirits category during lockdown, according to Sainsbury’s, as consumers became budding bartenders at home.

“Homemade cocktails have boomed during lockdown, and it’s a trend that could continue if retailers offer easy-to-use resources that help consumers learn how to mix cocktail classics at home,” said Sainsbury’s spirit expert, Tom Sandham, who quipped that the ‘quarantini’ became a lockdown favourite.

Pink gin continues to blossom in the UK, with 69% of gin’s growth sales being attributed to pink gin, according to CGA. Sales of pink gin in the year to mid-May 2019 were £392m, and the style is attracting new consumers to the gin category.

Two of the top-selling gins at Sainsbury’s are pink, with the category accounting for £9m worth of sales for the supermarket chain in the last year.

Rum is also having a good run – particularly spiced and flavoured rum, which is proving popular with consumers aged 25-44, who are drinking it in classic rum cocktails like the Mojito and Dark and Stormy.

“Gin lured countless drinkers away from vodka, with classics like the Negroni flourishing as drinkers craved punchy new botanical flavours. Now gin drinkers are turning towards rum for the same reason, as it’s the ideal stepping-stone drink into aged spirits: not too bitter, and lovely mixed or neat,” said Sandham.

“The beauty of rum is it’s sweet and approachable and can be sipped neat. Rum and coke is already a ubiquitous serve and rum can be an easier transition into darker spirits than moving from gin to whisky.

“Rum’s time has come. In the future we may see more rum being produced in the UK by craft distillers, as it can be made anywhere in the world. But demand for rum from the Caribbean, Guyana and Venezuela will come first,” he added.

Sainsbury’s year on year rum sales have grown by 39% compared to all spirits sales, which increased by 21%.

The supermarket predicts the popularity of canned cocktails to rise, with short serves like the Negroni and Old Fashioned in cans set to be the next big trend.

“Cans have the convenience factor, as they offer the perfect ready-to-drink serve – no special ingredients or equipment needed – making them a natural choice for drinking at home or for outings to the beach, park, parties or holidays,” said Sainsbury’s buyer, Hugh Browne.

“They’re also brilliant for those looking for a smaller portion to try something new or avoid buying more than they intend to drink,” he added.

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