What is Gin?

The Gin Guild are frequently asked about what Gin is and what the full regulations are.

These are currently mirrored across the UK and EU – and are available to read on the following webpage, but the key details listed here:

The key elements are from Annex 1 of the CATEGORIES OF SPIRIT DRINKS section 20-22 of the on the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks, the use of the names of spirit drinks in the presentation and labelling of other foodstuffs, the protection of geographical indications for spirit drinks, the use of ethyl alcohol and distillates of agricultural origin in alcoholic beverages, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 110/2008

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/eur/2019/787/annex/I/adopted

20.Gin

(a) Gin is a juniper-flavoured spirit drink produced by flavouring ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with juniper berries (Juniperus communis L.).

(b) The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of gin shall be 37,5 %.

(c) Only flavouring substances or flavouring preparations or both shall be used for the production of gin so that the taste is predominantly that of juniper.

(d) The term ‘gin’ may be supplemented by the term ‘dry’ if it does not contain added sweetening exceeding 0,1 grams of sweetening products per litre of the final product, expressed as invert sugar.

Note: The Gin Guild as a gin industry body has chosen not to recognise Compounded/Cold Compounded gins as suitable for Gin Guild membership, as a key objective of the Guild is to promote excellence in gin distillation. This is however a recognised production method and the first of the three regulated gin spirit categories, as regulated by Regulation 20 of (EU) 2019/787 – Annex I, Categories of Spirit Drinks.

Read more in our detailed guide here


21.Distilled gin

(a) Distilled gin is one of the following:

  • a juniper-flavoured spirit drink produced exclusively by distilling ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with an initial alcoholic strength of at least 96 % vol. in the presence of juniper berries (Juniperus communis L.) and of other natural botanicals, provided that the juniper taste is predominant;
  • the combination of the product of such distillation and ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with the same composition, purity and alcoholic strength; flavouring substances or flavouring preparations as specified in point (c) of category 20 or both may also be used to flavour distilled gin.

(b) The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of distilled gin shall be 37,5 %.

(c) Gin produced simply by adding essences or flavourings to ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin shall not be considered distilled gin.

(d) The term ‘distilled gin’ may be supplemented by or incorporate the term ‘dry’ if it does not contain added sweetening exceeding 0,1 grams of sweetening products per litre of the final product, expressed as invert sugar.

22.London gin

(a) London gin is distilled gin which meets the following requirements:

  • it is produced exclusively from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, with a maximum methanol content of 5 grams per hectolitre of 100 % vol. alcohol, the flavour of which is imparted exclusively through the distillation of ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin in the presence of all the natural plant materials used;
  • the resulting distillate contains at least 70 % alcohol by vol.;
  • any further ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin that is added shall comply with the requirements laid down in Article 5 but with a maximum methanol content of 5 grams per hectolitre of 100 % vol. alcohol;
  • it is not coloured;
  • it is not sweetened in excess of 0,1 grams of sweetening products per litre of the final product, expressed as invert sugar;
  • it does not contain any other ingredients than the ingredients referred to in points (i), (iii) and (v), and water.

(b) The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of London gin shall be 37,5 %.

(c) The term ‘London gin’ may be supplemented by or incorporate the term ‘dry’.

 

Read more in our detailed guide here