A mixed methods study to advance an understanding of the place of provenance in Scottish craft gin's recent rise in popularity
Sales of gin in the UK have doubled in the last six years. In 2017 gin was named as British consumers’ favourite spirit for the first time and 25 new gins were created in Scotland, bringing the number of Scottish gins up to 53. While many recent articles in the trade and popular press regularly cite the role of provenance as key to craft gin's popularity, others have questioned its actual provenance credentials. The purpose of this dissertation is to advance an understanding of the place of provenance in Scottish craft gin's recent rise in popularity. In the absence of academic research in this key category in Scotland's food and drink portfolio, such a study is important to provide a current understanding of the reasons for Scottish craft gin's popularity and considerations for the future. The research approach of this dissertation is firstly an extensive study of relevant literature. The literature review provides a historical background on gin in Scotland then considers definitions of provenance and identified themes related to provenance in other food and drink categories which provide a basis for the practical research. Secondly, practical research in the form of content analysis focusses on how the gin producer draws on provenance in their selling story and subsequently how the consumer interprets provenance elements of the selling story in their purchase decision, through a consumer survey. Key findings of the research were that provenance plays an increasingly important role with consumers as they place more importance on where their food comes from, buying local and supporting craft producers. Scottish craft gin producers studied place a huge emphasis on provenance themes and associations on their labels; Scottish gin consumers’ interpretation of provenance themes used is very much in accord with those of producers and is key in their purchasing decision. This dissertation gives recommendations to gin producers and the gin industry to protect their product’s provenance credentials and consumers’ confidence in them.