The Newest Trend In Gin Is About What’s On The Bottle, Not In It

Food & Drink

When picking a bottle of booze, it’s often about what’s inside the bottle, not out. You’re buying a gin for its ability to bolster a martini, not for the label. If you do buy a bottle for the packaging, it often is uninspired in taste.

Recently, a new crop of gins have leaned into design, producing artfully-made bottles that are equally excellent on the palate.

Brad Pitt just released the Gardener Gin, a London-style gin made in partnership with ex-Tanqueray distiller Tom Nichol. The bottle is shimmering turquoise with a carved wood stopper crowning the bottle and a flared bottom. The Gardener “is an expression of the land we cultivate and guard for the generations to come,” Matthieu Perrin, who worked on Miraval with Pitt, told People. “It is a quest for perfection, dreamed up by friends who share a dedication to art and to craft.”

Portofino Gin captures coastal Italy in a square, turquoise-blue bottle painted with a candy-hued panorama of the Riviera coastline. It’s by far the shortest on the shelf, but the sea glass blue bottle and striking coastline makes it hard to ignore and is easy to entice.

“The design of our bottle and the name of our gin is easily recognizable, both for someone who has already visited Portofino and for those who dream of traveling there one day,” says founder Chris Egger. Beyond the bottle, the brand captures the Ligurian coast through lush Mediterranean vegetation, like lemon, rosemary, sage, iris, and rose.

Glendalough Gin just overhauled the branding of their Wicklow Mountains gin, making it into an arching bottle with a cork top.

A few years back, Gordon’s gin overhauled the historic labeling, opting for a taller, slimmer bottle and leaving behind the more angular, flat-sided bottle of earlier days. The design nods to the brand’s archives, with labels from 1920s bottles.

Why now? While the ‘gin-aissance’ of the last few decades — a period when the gin market exploded with new styles and expressions — has slowed, there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of gins on the market. When the gin boom first started, distillers were setting themselves apart by working with distinguishing and unique botanicals — local kelp, florals, or other foraged or locally found ingredients. To take it one step further, brands are doubling down on higher-voltage designs — bottles that jump off the shelves and into a drinker’s glasses.

Isle of Harris gin, a sugar kelp gin made in Scotland, has gained a small army of fans who love the liquid, yes, but also the bottle. The ribbed glass was meant to evoke the oceanic elements of the island, while the smooth lines represent glass worn in by the tides. Even the labels are speckled with flecks of kelp. Once the last drop is done, drinkers have turned bottles into desk lamps, candlestick holders and necklaces.

“This distinctiveness certainly helps to generate curiosity in someone who discovers our gin for the first time,” says Portofino’s Egger. “For us it was important to be able to offer a taste experience worthy of our packaging in order to become the favorite ultra-premium Italian gin among gin drinkers.”

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