June 7, 2019. It’s World Gin Day! And just in time for this global celebration, Ginebra San Miguel, a brand patronized for more than nine generations, also celebrated its 185th Anniversary and initiated the beginning of the One Ginebra Nation Tour plus the launch of One Ginebra Nation website.
The celebration started with a short theatrical show which was directed by Rommel Ramilo, chronicling the 185 years of Ginebra San Miguel. I love theater plays. And since I was once a part of it(yes! years back, I was in a theater play), to be honest, GSM’s theatrical spectacle was one of the best programs that i’ve ever been to. It was nicely executed.
Wow! 185 years! Maybe you are curious how this brand started and how it became a known brand now that is being enjoyed by Filipinos. So here’s a brief history.
The story of Ginebra San Miguel is the story of a drinking culture that began on March 10, 1834. From its humble beginnings in a small distillery in Quiapo, Manila, Ginebra San Miguel, the first-ever gin in the Philippines, was initially produced to cater to the affluent and colonial elite who stayed on in Manila and later shared with other wealthy Filipinos. Back then, Ginebra San Miguel was bottled in 20-liter glass jars wrapped in rattan weave called the dama juana.
The brand, already an award winner as early as the late 19th century, became the most sought-after liquor drink by Filipinos. As Ginebra San Miguel grew in demand, it also became more affordable to the working class Filipino when it was bottled in 1 liter glass containers called the frasco.
Along with modernization and improvements in production technology, Ginebra San Miguel introduced in the 1950s the image of St. Michael the Archangel vanquishing the devil, painted by Fernando Amorsolo (who would become the first National Artist), in its Bilog and Kwatro Kantos bottles.
Since its creation, Ginebra San Miguel has been a witness to the changes that shaped and defined the Philippines. It has withstood the test of time, the challenges of war, the transitions of governments, and even technological developments. Ginebra San Miguel evolved from being a drink of the elite to winning the hearts and taste buds of the masses. Today, Ginebra San Miguel is considered as one of the country’s most respected and iconic brands and has become part of Philippine history, culture and tradition.
Now, going back to the celebration. While everyone enjoyed the free-flowing gin cocktails and delicious food, Ginebra San Miguel’s celebrity endorsers GSM’s Calendar Girl, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, GSM Blue endorser, actress/singer Sue Ramirez and GSM Premium Gin ambassador, comedian/writer Alex Calleja prepared elevated Ginebra San Miguel drink mixes with the world-class mixologists.
True to its One Ginebra Nation theme, the event featured food and special gin cocktails prepared with ingredients from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
- Chef Rolando Laudico created sumptuous dishes to pair perfectly with the gin concoctions of top mixologists.
- Kalel Demetrio paid tribute to Luzon with his Beautiful With A Heart gin concoction, made with Kamias juice and Blue Sampaguita spritz.
- Enzo Lim created the Carabao Cocktail that highlighted the sweet Mangoes of Visayas. Mindanao’s Tablea and Durian was mixed beautifully in Icy Mariñas’ Shalalala.
Of course, Ginebra wouldn’t be the same without this person. An icon to the brand, The “living legend” Robert Jaworski.
One Ginebra Nation
Throughout this 185-year journey, Ginebra San Miguel has certainly been there in good and bad times, being one with the people. When you say gin in the Philippines, only one brand comes to mind: Ginebra San Miguel. Wherever you are, whatever your status, whether celebrating milestones or unwinding at the end of the day, it has become part of the Filipino’s way of life.
“Ginebra San Miguel mirrors the resilience and the never-say-die spirit of the Filipinos. As the pioneering gin in the Philippines, we take pride in its legacy because the story of Ginebra San Miguel is the story of the Filipino people,” said Ron C. Molina, Ginebra San Miguel Marketing Manager.
Gin lovers can log on to www.oneginebranation.com and check the latest promos, events, special Ginebra San Miguel packages in selected bars nationwide, and even DIY mixing of Ginebra drinks. Cool right?
Let’s toast to One Ginebra Nation!