On selling gin

From grahams Flickr photostream, issued under a Creative Commons licence. Tomorrow, I'm lucky enough to be attending a gin training session at work hosted by an ambassador from Diageo's Reserve Brands division and I reckoned it would be worth doing a bit of homework. I'm pretty familiar with gin, but I figure it's always worth refreshing myself every once in a while. I don't know if they're going to touch on Gordon's Gin tomorrow, but I stopped by the website anyway.

Gordon's have been using Gordon Ramsay as the face of their advertising for a while now, in a campaign that plays on his uncomprimising pursuit of excellence - stop laughing at the back - and he appears in a video on the website demonstrating how to make the perfect G&T. And it's annoying the hell out of me.

Gordon's is one of the oldest spirit brands in the world, but in recent years it's fallen out of favour among bartenders, particularly in the upper end of the trade. We switched from it to Bombay Sapphire as a house pour about eighteen months/two years ago, and it's rare to see it being poured along George Street which is as zeitgeisty a market as you'll see in the bar industry. Gordon's is still (I believe, I haven't got the numbers) the biggest gin brand in the UK, but I wonder how much of that is driven by off-license (liquor store) sales, and from that point of view, it makes perfect sense to use someone like Gordon Ramsay as your corporate face.

I still feel weird about that video. I think it's territorial - Ramsay's a great chef, but my experience would suggest that chefs are much better in front of a bar than behind one. I can think of any number of bartenders, trainers or brand ambassadors that exhibit the same passion for spirits and cocktails as Ramsay does for food, yet no-one's made the leap into the mainstream in the same way as celebrity chefs have.

I guess the point I'm aiming at is, who's going to be the first mainstream celebrity bartender?

(Photo from <<graham>>'s Flickr photostream, issued under a Creative Commons licence.)

Posted on October 29, 2008 and filed under Thoughts.