Drinkers want transparency on contract distilling: Study

The Gin Queen founder Caroline Childerley

A recent survey suggests gin drinkers would like greater transparency about how and where their spirits are made.

Caroline Childerley, AKA The Gin Queen, surveyed her database of gin consumers to better understand their habits.

Sixty per cent of respondents said it didn’t matter to them if a brand was created by a third party, such as Gypsy Hub at Craft & Co. in Melbourne.


But 46 per cent said it was ‘very important’ for them to know how and where a gin is produced, suggesting a desire for transparency in labelling.

Childerley told Drinks Adventures that there are no less than 45 gins produced under contract out of the 700 Australian gins she has recorded on her website.

“These are the ones I know about,” she said. “It’s a small number, but it is definitely growing.”

“I don’t have an issue as long as there is transparency, particularly about location.

“In the past there was a gin made under contract in South Australia that was marketing itself as ‘Tasmanian made’… this has now been removed from the label.”

Childerley said a huge percentage of UK gins are made by contractors, with market leader Thames Distillers making about 150 gins, and Langley Distillery making about 80.

“Some brands start out under contract and build their name enough so they can bring everything in house,” she said.

“Jensen’s is a great example.”

Contract distilling podcast

The Drinks Adventures podcast has previously discussed contract distilling with Kathleen Davies, founder of craft spirits distributor Nip Of Courage.

“There is nothing wrong in my view with contract distilled brands, but they shouldn’t be claiming that they’re ‘distilleries’,” she said.

“To actually have a distillery operation, there’s a huge amount of overheads and expenses involved.

“Contract distilled brands don’t have the distillery upkeep or overheads, so there is a distinct difference.”

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