Homemade Gin, Anyone? How the Internet is Bringing Us Back to DIY


img35c.jpgWhile scrolling through The Grommet, one can find a plethora of products that are “invented by people with stories.” A particular pattern I discovered on the website were the DIY items that kept appearing amongst inventions such as edible chocolate candles, a hard boiled egg peeler, and guacamole preservation containers. In particular, “The HomeMade Gin Kit” caught my eye. The word “kit” was especially intriguing because it suggested that it is easy to use, won’t cost you a fortune, and would therefore be the perfect gift for any gin enthusiast. The New York Times described it as “…a fitting gift for an amateur mixologist” (Fabricant, Florence).

“The HomeMade Gin Kit” was invented by Joe Maiellano and Jack Hubbard , both from Washington D.C. Being alcohol enthusiasts, they considered starting their own distillery but opted out after realizing that teaching people to make gin was “more doable and equally inspiring.” If you don’t see yourself as a creative individual, no worries! The kit provides you with quality ingredients along with a simple how-to on their website. All you need is a bottle of vodka and the kit, which includes juniper berries and various spices. Within 36 hours, the consumer has made his/her own gin.


Joe and Jack are examples of businessmen of the “Individual Age.” In Nicco Mele’s book The End of Big: How the Digital Revolution Makes David the New Goliath, he describes it as the age “…in which the skills, talents, and labors of people matter most and people can sell their services themselves in the free market without having to work for large corporations” (219). Innovators are starting to gravitate less towards big business and more towards individual employment. Radical connectivity is a major component in that technology is allowing smaller businesses to successfully connect with consumers. By using The Grommet, Joe and Jack were able to showcase their product on a platform whose mission is to help independent makers succeed. “The HomeMade Gin Kit” is an example of an item that was designed/distributed as part of the creative economy. When consumers spend money on creative products, it leads to a thriving cultural sector. The website helps the creator find and build an audience by connecting “…these independent Makers with Main Street Retailers, supporting both and ensuring their success.” By selling the DIY Gin Kit on The Grommet, they are able to reach an audience that loves to cook and drink, purchase DIY products, and buy gifts for others. I found this product under the “Food & Drink” tab of the website, allowing enthusiasts to scroll through various items of interest. Having tabs with multiple categories such as “Food & Drink,” “Tech, Gadgets, and Tools,” “Kids,” and “Travel” (to name a few) allows the customer to refine their search, therefore making it easier for target audiences to find a particular product. In this case, the website manages to expose the brand to more consumers with an interest in food and drink.


sku3_hmginkit.jpgWith the decline of big business comes the return of something else. Mele states, “People are turning away from big companies in favor of stuff created by live human beings that they can get to know. It’s a return to an old kind of system, one rooted in American self-sufficiency and innovation” (240). The Gin Kit is a distinct example of this “back to the old way of selling things” strategy. The only difference is that the Internet plays a major role. Competitors may include large companies like Tanqueray or Bombay Dry Gin. According to The Drinks Association, “The world’s biggest selling gin is Diageo’s Gordon’s gin, with Bacardi’s Bombay Sapphire at No.2, Tanquery at No.3 and Beefeater at No.4” (Kaplan, Naomi). The difference between these big brand gins and “The HomeMade Gin Kit” is that, well, it’s homemade! Instead of buying a regular old bottle of Tanqueray, why not make your own gin out of quality ingredients?



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