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Gin for Breakfast

Our second Sundowner Symposium saw the brands behind the discerning drinker’s G&T de nos jours – Sipsmith and Fever Tree – entertaining a healthy crowd at Brand Exchange last night (November 9th).

Alexander Darley from Sipsmith began with an illuminating history of gin. I knew that gin is sometimes known as “Mother’s ruin” but hadn’t realised it is also responsible for the phrase Dutch courage, having played a significant role in the gung ho fearlessness of William of Orange’s troops back in the 17th century. As the first traditional copper distillery launched in London for almost 200 years, Sipsmith have an enviable tale to tell, and their success so far suggests it’s one that gin drinkers are endorsing enthusiastically.

Meanwhile as Fever Tree’s clever strapline says, “If 3/4 of your G&T is tonic, make sure you use the best”. Their success is equally striking, certainly for those wise investors who’ve seen a massive return on their investment since the brand’s inception in 2005. Charlie Roberts informed us about tonic water’s anti-malarial roots and explained why Fever Tree is the ideal accompaniment to Sipsmith’s lovingly crafted London Dry Gin.

Both chaps spoke excellently and certainly contributed to the subsequent stampede to the bar. As David Haigh – Brand Finance founder and our host at Brand Exchange – explained at the start of the evening, there’s some way to go before gin is anywhere near the size of many other spirits’ market share; in other words, there’s significant potential for growth. I suspect both Fever Tree and Sipsmith will be beneficiaries of that opportunity.



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