Hi everyone! It's Leah, co-founder of Craft Gins Co. Today we'll be discussing about how much we should really be paying for gin, what's too expensive, or too cheap? Does cheap = bad, and expensive = good?
Let's be real. Alcohol in Singapore is probably one of the most expensive in the world. You have to pay for the dreaded alcohol tax, then comes import costs, GST, freight and transportation charges, warehouse charges, rental, marketing, and so on!
Let's start with the basics: what goes into the cost of making gin?
When making gin, you'll have to consider the cost of making/purchasing the base spirit, the quality of botanicals, labour & production costs (distillation, peeling and chopping skins off botanicals), bottle, sticker, labels, etc. Cheaper botanicals doesn't exactly translate to a bad quality product. It's usually the distillation process that contributes to the cost of the gin.
Why is distillation expensive?
The cost of production and botanicals for commercial gins are significantly cheaper for various reasons. For example, one round of distillation equates to a product that contains more by-products of alcohol (those things that give you really bad headaches). Craft distillers who care about the quality of their product, go through 2 to 3 rounds of distillation. This costs more and gives you lesser quantity at the end, but produces a significantly purer, and better quality spirit, like the earl grey gin.
Other reasons include the type of distillation. For many commercial distillers, botanicals are seeped in a huge copper pot and distiller. However, craft distilleries like Animus Distillery utilises a vapour pressed production approach. Their gins are produced in small batches, where botanical baskets are changed frequently throughout the production of each batch, to extract the freshest, richest flavours from the balance of Australian native and international ingredients.
This is what you need before you start making your gin. It's usually purchased as it saves on labour, and its quality is mostly great. Some craft distillers are VERY particular about the quality of their spirit and produce their own base spirit as they're able to control the end product better. That's pretty costly and labour intensive.
There are certainly other factors that goes into the cost of the gin, but these are pretty much it.
So... cheap = bad?
Alright, now that you have a basic understanding of how gin is made (if you diligently read the above), you'll understand why craft gins are usually on the higher range.
An easy way to know what you're getting into, taste the gin and see how easy it is to drink it (consider the fact that there's no artificial flavourings or sugar). If it tastes nasty in terms of smoothness/throat burn, it's probably a badly produced gin. Typically good gins should cost between $80 - $110.
To sum it up, it's really up to you to decide how much you'd really want to pay gin. I personally enjoy supporting craft distillers who put their heart and passion into crafting and creating an awesome gin. That said, you're also able to find gins of a lower price range that tastes relatively decent as well.
Unless you're in for a fun night of drunken-ness, I'd pick quality over quantity anytime.
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