From a mobile tuk-tuk bar to free-standing display units featuring everything needed to whip up a cocktail, alcohol brands are pulling out all the stops to stand out on shelf.

Oriental spiced gin brand Opihr is in the process of parking its customised tuk-tuk bar outside supermarkets to drive brand awareness, while Waitrose and Tesco shoppers have been given all the ingredients needed to make a mojito helpfully grouped in one place courtesy of Havana Club.

This is part of our Alcohol Report 2014.

“Innovation is undoubtedly the lifeblood of the category but innovation isn’t solely about NPD,” says Debs Carter, marketing director at SHS Drinks, whose brands include WKD. “Packaging developments and innovative marketing initiatives play an equally important role.”

Here’s our pick of 10 tricks alcohol players are currently using to pull in the shoppers:

Ophihr tuk tuk

1. After winning listings in Tesco and Morrisons in October following launch in Waitrose a year earlier oriental spiced gin brand Opihr has created a bespoke mobile cocktail bar to introduce shoppers to the brand.

The tuk tuk, hand decorated by renowned Spanish artist Andi Rivas, will be parked outside Waitrose in Canary Wharf this autumn following a tour of festivals and foodie events this summer.

The tour ties in with the Quintessential brand’s first on-pack promotion, delivered via a luggage tag attached to the red and gold cord at the neck of each bottle, giving shoppers the chance to win a trip on the famous Rickshaw Run, a race across India in April 2015 and the source of three of the gin’s botanicals.

Havana Club stand

2. Havana Club is taking the hard work out of shopping for cocktails by putting everything needed to make a mojito in one place. Brand owner Pernod Ricard has grouped all the necessary ingredients alongside bottles of Havana Club in free-standing display units in selected Tesco and Waitrose stores.

“Consumers are increasingly looking to recreate nights out and one crucial way they can do this is by making cocktails,” says Chris Shead, off-trade channel director at Pernod Ricard. “We have partnered with multiples to create specific free-standing display units with shelves including fresh mint, limes, sugar and Havana Club giving shoppers everything they need in one place.”

3. It’s been 30 years since Andy Warhol unveiled his iconic painting of an Absolut vodka bottle and to mark the anniversary Absolut has launched a limited-edition bottle featuring the artwork on the glass.

The multi-coloured design (rsp: £21.50) comes with ‘Colour it Warhol’ cocktail recipes, which brand owner Pernod Ricard says will encourage a larger basket spend in-store by listing the necessary ingredients to make Warhol-inspired cocktails at home.

The new bottle launched on October 1 in Harvey Nichols and Selfridges and will roll out to grocery channels in March “forming the platform for the brand over the next 12 months”.

Hendricks Dreamscapes

4. For the normal price of a 700ml bottle Hendrick’s fans can not only replenish their gin supply but sip it from one of the brand’s signature tea cups.

Hendrick’s Dreamscapes gift packs (rsp: £28.09) rolled out across grocery and convenience channels in August to help the William Grant-owned brand stand out on shelf next to the growing number of gin players competing for space. “Consumer interest in premium gin is at an all-time high and as a result retailers are giving the category more space on shelf to capitalise on the opportunity,” says James O’Connor, senior brand manager at William Grant.

5. Heineken is encouraging lager drinkers to break out of their neighbourhood and explore new nightlife hotspots by replacing two billion 33cl bottles of Heineken with all-green versions carrying the name of one of the six most progressive cities in the world.

Amsterdam, Berlin, London, New York, Rio De Janeiro and Shanghai all feature below the brand’s famous red star on special packs for its global ‘Open Your City’ campaign, which launched in September and runs for six months. Shoppers can also collect bottle tops to be in with a chance of winning prizes including Heineken merchandise and a 72-hour adventure in one of the Open Your City locations.


6. They might not know the exact date of Jack Daniel’s birthday, but Bacardi Brown-Forman didn’t let such a minor detail get in the way of its latest marketing campaign. ‘Jack’s Birthday: Your Party’ launched across digital, print and social media during Jack’s birthday month in September giving shoppers the chance to win prizes including personalised limited-edition glassware, gig tickets and a trip to the home of Jack Daniel’s in Lynchburg, Tennessee, using codes found on bottles.

The company also invested in bespoke displays, bottle neck tags, hanging flags and aisle fins encouraging supermarket shoppers to #livethespiritofjack online.

7. Malibu has been busy. If the launch of a limited-edition bottle created in collaboration with British fashion designer Sera Ulger wasn’t enough to make the brand stand out on shelf, it has teamed up with fruit puree brand Funkin to launch a co-branded Pina Colada.

The 750ml cartons featuring the Malibu logo launched in Tesco in September in a bid to drive off-trade sales for what brand owner Pernod Ricard says is the fourth best-selling cocktail in mainstream bars.

And after real coconut cups proved an on-trade hit shoppers can sip their Pina Coladas from Malibu-branded coconut cups, which rolled out across grocery retailers as a gift with purchase from July. They’ve proved so popular they’re even selling on eBay.

8. James Bond would approve: Johnnie Walker is sure to stand out on shelf once again this Christmas with a metalised gold bullion bottle for its gold label reserve line.

The limited-edition bottle, which first launched for Christmas 2013, is coated in shiny golden lacquer and hit major retailers and convenience stores in October (rsp: £42/70cl) to boost the brand’s luxury credentials.

Diageo is also preparing to take its gold label reserve photo booth on a tour of Europe, encouraging drinkers to upload selfies to Instagram with the hashtag #GoldCelebration for a chance to win a photo shoot with the photographer Rankin.

Tracks of your life

9. Scotch whisky brand Whyte & Mackay grabbed the attention of shoppers with a nostalgic offer of personalised vinyl drinks mats designed to look like vinyl records.

Shoppers could choose the titles of three songs that have played a big part in their lives and have them etched onto collectible mats through an on-pack Tracks of Your Life promotion redeemable online between April and July.

“The execution has not only given us a platform where our consumers can experience a personal element by creating their own mats, but has also given them a way to converse with friends over shared memories and musical tastes,” says Fiona Lockie, brand manager at Whyte & Mackay.

10. Kronenbourg has unveiled special-edition packaging for the first time in the brand’s history to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the opening of the original Kronenbourg brewery.

The limited-edition cans and bottles are available until December and feature a colour split pack of silver and the brand’s classic Kronenbourg 1664 blue emblazoned with the words ‘celebrating 350 years of brewing excellence’.

“The colour change and additional text gives the entire Kronenbourg 1664 range greater stand out on shelf and will help educate consumers about the quality and heritage of this premium brand, which will in turn drive sales for retailers,” says Craig Clarkson, category & trade marketing director for off-trade at Heineken.

This is part of our Alcohol Report 2014.