Top 3: Organic Tonics

You are probably more than aware that the world is in the midst of a gin revolution - it’s been difficult to miss. There simply isn’t enough shelf space to stock the bounteous supply of botanical delights now available. So where does this saturated market go next? Tom Smart ponders whether going organic might be just the tonic the industry needs.

The UK gin market has more than doubled over the last five years, so much so that there are now more distilleries in England than Scotland for the first time in history. These are remarkable times for a spirit once labelled as mother’s ruin, with many countries around the globe following suit.

Innovation has been plentiful and driven the meteoric rise; flavoured gins are responsible for a considerable proportion of market growth, while pairing apps and tasting evenings have allowing the public to take their gin more seriously. The organic market has given rise to gins aplenty, providing a more natural tipple for conscious consumers. It all sounds great, but this only tells the story up to the half-time interval. The best bits are yet to come.

History dictates that gin & tonic have always been natural partners, complimenting each other perfectly to become more than just the sum of their parts. Just like other fabled double acts such as Tom & Jerry, Morecambe & Wise and salt & pepper*, they work better together.

It doesn’t take a huge amount of logic therefore to make the presumption that tonic innovation and growth must have kept up with its running partner, but it hasn’t, and especially when it comes to the organic market. Organic tonic producers are incredibly difficult to find, for reasons unknown and that go beyond the scope of this article.

While we were disappointed by the lack of choice we were not defeated. We got out there to profile a few of the early adopters and have listed these below. We were looking to publish a ‘Top 5’ article in the style of just about every other blog writer in the world (everyone loves a list apparently), but unfortunately could only find three, which made us think organic tonic wouldn’t ever be a thing, and if it was it might never make it out of Scandanavia. But then we came across a name on the list that took us by surprise. So much so it made us realise that organic tonic might just be the next gin-derived boom:

1 – Ekobrygerriet, Sweden

With a third of the company’s profits going to charity, these organic tonics come in a range of truly Nordic flavours which give a delicate twist to any gin.

Our particular favourite was the spruce, however it received able support from partners rhubarb, elderflower, clove, bitter and extra bitter flavours.

They are recently available in a number of natural stores in the UK with an RRP of £1.49. We think the non-traditional flavours could prove a hit with consumers, while a range of tonic sorbets (not yet available in the UK) could be a game changer.

2 - Nicolas Vahé, Denmark

Running with the Nordic theme, this Danish company produce some really interesting flavour combinations for the high-end market. A range including raspberry & lemongrass, and elderflower & thyme will really make consumers and mixologists take note.

Readily available in their native Denmark they appear to be plotting a move into the UK market. An RRP of £3.50 will prove too much for many, but they are certainly pushing boundaries with their flavour profiles and could force a way into cocktail bars up and down the country.

3. Organics by Red Bull, Austria

Yes, you did read that correctly. The most readily available choice in the UK organic tonic market is produced by mega-corp Red Bull in a move clearly designed to grab a major foothold in a market destined for future growth. While they only produce a standard organic tonic water (which we must confess we have not tried), it is supported by a cola, ginger ale and bitter lemon, all incredibly reasonably priced at an RRP of £1.29.

It only takes one to start a movement, and this list shows there is some serious investment happening already. Definitely a market to keep an eye on.

* the condiment, as opposed to 1980’s hip-hop sensations Salt-N-Pepa who counter-intuitively had three founding members.