China’s gin industry is simply unshakeable! Chinese cocktail enthusiasts are constantly seeking out new craft gin brands, and classy gin bars and even gin festivals can now be found in most major Chinese cities, such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. China’s alcohol market statistics indicate that revenue generated in the gin segment amounted to US$70 million in 2019, and that the Chinese gin market is expected to grow annually by 2.5% from 2021 onwards. According to a popular Gin Market Trends in China research report published in the late 2021, China’s demand for gin will continue to grow at about 13% by 2030. In fact, driven mostly by China’s growing consumption of gin, gin has become the fastest growing alcoholic beverage category since 2018. This also shows the power of and lucrative opportunities within the Chinese market for foreign business.
To Chinese consumers, gin is associated with heritage, sophistication, and foreign countries, and in particular, Europe where gin originated from. Consequently, seeking out foreign gin brands has become trendy – a drink to be seen ordering in bars, a talking point at dinner parties, and post-worthy on Chinese social media.
However, the upsurging gin market in China is also attributed to the domestic regional gin distilleries, such as Porcelain Shanghai Dry Gin and Peddlers Gin that incorporate locally-grown ingredients like Mongolian juniper berries and Sichuan peppers and have been hugely successful in China. Gin brands that take time to understand local people’s tastes and produce flavours that can appeal to them will give these brands an edge that can help them stand out and achieve success in the Chinese market. Unique flavours are also what is helping smaller brands to break the market and compete with large international brands, such as Gordon’s and Bombay Sapphire, as Chinese consumers are also interested in small batch, craft distilleries that offer higher quality gins and new flavours. The first-class South African gin brand, Monks Gin, has already become a hit amongst Chinese gin lovers due to its quality and the uniqueness of its flavours.
The internationally well-known gin distillery Monks Gin was launched by Nic and Di Davis, who both came from the same region in South Africa, Breede River, a picturesque mountain valley region in the Western Cape. Driven by their love of the picturesque valley and their passion for African botanicals, coupled with their taste for artisanal gin, they began the Monks Gin journey by building South Africa’s first off-grid distillery late in 2017. It’s here in their secret sanctum that they work to manifest the miraculous- where they obsessively conjure and concoct, tirelessly test and tweak and push to perfect the alchemy of gin.
Monks Gin markets itself as a dry gin brand on a mission to create single-batch, premium gins and infusing them with African medicinal herbs. The customers can expect intensely flavour-forward botanicals, nine of them hand-picked locally and many endemic to the Cape Valley. Combined with crystal-clear mountain waters and the result is a rewarding one, featuring ripples of citrus, berries and Cape Buchu.
After years of hard work, Monks Gin is now also a multi-award-winning gin brand having won the gold in the International Spirit Awards and the best in category in four territories, including China, Europe, Africa and San Francisco in the USA. This has also contributed to its growing acclaim in China. Their gin flavours, Mysterium, Medella and Mary Jane, have gained professional approval and been exalted in the World Gin Awards, the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirit Award, and the South African Craft Gin Awards. Monks Gin’s uniquely flavoured gins have also gained an international following in South Africa, across Africa, China, Germany and the UK where they currently export to.
Among the high-end gin distilleries, Monks Gin also particularly stands out for its absolute commitment on environmental and social sustainability. The Breede Valley, where the brand based, is an agricultural region whose workforce is, for the most part, unskilled farm labourers and grape pickers. With Monks Gin being a small, family owned and run enterprise, they pride themselves in their hands-on approach. From botanicals picking to bottle packaging, every manufacturing steps are hand-make with simple machines. This affords the brand opportunities to employ and upskill inhabitants from the community which they consider key to their longevity and success. To date, the brand’s small staff have grown from having relatively few skills to being multi-tasking, engaging ambassadors of the brand.
Aiming to contribute even more, Monks Gin have worked hard to put their distillery on the tourist map and have trained their staff to host tastings for tour groups. This added attraction to the region and has encouraged an influx of tourism which in turn brought valuable revenue to the valley, enabling the entire region to grow. In the long term, as they grow their footprint, Monks Gin envisages being instrumental in employing and upskilling many more people in the valley. It is the brand’s dream to facilitate the building of an early learning centre and library as well as aspiring to set up a bursary scheme for tertiary education for the disadvantaged children in their underdeveloped community in South Africa.
The brand’s vision for the future is to grow their international footprint as widely as possible. By standing up to scrutiny with the best in the world in this sector, the inflows of foreign capital will facilitate the expansion of the distillery and thereby the upskilling of more and more local unskilled farm labours. This goal of company undoubtedly brought them to China where they participated in the 2022 China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo with the support of Africa Reimagined during which they made numerous business partnerships and began to grow in the Chinese market. They are now available on Kiliselect, a foremost e-commerce platform for luxury African brands in China.
Stay tuned to our website to learn more about Monks Gin and more luxury African brands that we have supported with entering the Chinese market.
Africa Reimagined is a China market entry service platform and consultancy for luxury African brands that commit to the sustainability of Africa. Visit our website to learn about our services and the brands we work with. Contact us to learn more:
- If you are a China-based business owner or person, how you can connect with our brands and explore business partnerships.
- If you are an African brand, how we can support you with entry in the Chinese market including preparing for the Chinese market and finding buyers.