India Gin

The Rising Popularity of India Gin Craft


Gin has a long history in India dating back to the colonial era. When the British East India Company established trading posts in India in the late 1600s, British officials and merchants brought their tastes and drinking habits with them. Gin quickly became popular among the British living in India as an alternative to rum or whiskey, which did not travel as well in the hot climate. However, in those early days, gin was produced commercially using industrial methods rather than the artisanal techniques seen today. It wasn’t until recent years that small-batch, craft gin production revived in India.

Emergence of Modern Indian Craft Gins

The modern India Gin movement began in the early 2010s, as a new generation of Indian distillers started experimenting with native botanicals. One of the early pioneers was Greater Than, founded in Mumbai in 2012. They produced India’s first London dry-style craft gin using locally foraged botanicals like Davana leaf, Kokum, and Black Pepper. Around the same time, another Mumbai-based distillery called Stranger & Sons launched with gins featuring Indian spice blends. These craft distilleries helped ignite interest among Indian drinkers and kickstarted a trend towards experimentation with native botanicals.

Rise in Popularity

In the last 5-7 years, the number of craft gin producers in India has exploded as more distilleries open across major cities. New Delhi, Bangalore, Goa, and Kerala have all emerged as hubs for Indian craft gin production. This growth reflects rising demand – according to industry estimates, India gin consumption has more than doubled since 2015. Young, affluent urban Indians have developed a new appreciation for well-made crafted spirits and explore unique indigenous flavor profiles. Additionally, the influx of foreign visitors exposed to global craft gin culture has influenced local tastes. High-end bars, restaurants, and boutique liquor stores now stock a wide variety of Indian craft gins, further fueling their popularity.

Experimentation with Native Botanicals

What sets India Gin apart is their innovative use of native botanicals. Distillers are foraging widely across different regions to sourcing indigenous plants with distinct flavor characteristics. Some popular native botanicals appearing in Indian craft gins include:

– Davana (Artemisia pallens) – An aromatic herb with notes of clove and anise.

– Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) – Wild nutmeg with spicy, woody characteristics.

– Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata) – Known for its bitter taste, used medicinally.

– Tejpat (Cinnamomum tamala) – Sweet cinnamon-like leaves from the bay leaf tree.

– Gentle (Piper longum) – Heat and aromatic spice from the pepper family.

– Kasundi Mustard – earthy, sharp notes from prepared brown mustard seeds.

Indian distillers are also experimenting with lesser known botanicals like makoy root, kachri blossoms, and wild jamun berries. Through trial and error, they are uncovering nuanced indigenous flavors and developing signature gin styles reflective of native flora. This experimentation has elevated India’s craft gin scene and helped carve a unique identity on the global stage.

Recent Trends and the Future

A few notable trends have emerged recently. Indian gin is expanding its export overseas as global cocktail consumers appreciate new discoveries. Top producers are now stocked internationally, securing a global reputation. The cocktail scene in major cities is also becoming more sophisticated – bartenders are concocting gin-based drinks that highlight native botanicals. Industry associations like the Indian Craft Spirit Association aim to further develop the sector through advocacy, training and quality control.

Looking ahead, as consumerism and appreciation for indigenous ingredients grows, demand for innovative India gin will likely continue rising both domestically and abroad in the coming years. More native botanicals are poised to be explored as distillers push boundaries. Collaborations bringing different regional expertise together may lead to exciting new styles. The future remains bright as India’s dynamic gin scene advances flavor exploration and establishes itself on the worldwide artisanal spirits map.

1.  Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it