One of our 10 Things You Need To Know About… Soft Drinks

Mixers are flying, with Brits splashing out an extra £16.4m on tonic and the like over the past year [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 1 January 2017].

NPD in this arena has been heavily focused on mixers to go with clear spirits or cocktails, from Folkington’s mini cans to Muddle & Mash’s Green Tea Mint Mojito mixer, but with rum experiencing a resurgence some are questioning whether dark mixers could prove lucrative.

Rum looks set to be the new gin in terms of consumer interest in styles and flavour, believes Dan Bolton, MD at Hi-Spirits. “Spiced rum in particular is gaining traction,” he adds. “The easy mixability of spiced rum with cola or ginger beer appeals to consumers looking for a warmer flavour profile.”

Fever-Tree plans to stir up some growth in the market, having already seen a 118% jump in its UK sales in 2016 as the growing thirst for premium gin boosted revenues.

“Gin only accounts for 6% of the global premium spirits category,” CEO Tim Warrillow said in a recent financial update. “The dark spirits category, on the other hand, accounts for 60% of global premium spirits, 10 times the size. Within the dark spirits category, the same trends of premiumisation and mixability that are driving the rise of premium gin and tonic consumption are also emerging, with major premium dark spirits brands actively promoting simple long serves.”

The brand is promising to launch NPD in 2017 to complement this trend, with its Madagascan Cola, Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale already on shelves. Ginger Beer & Muddled Lime is also part of a seven-strong range rolled out by Fentimans in October.

Warrillow also points out that major players in these categories, notably Coca-Cola, do not promote their brand as alcoholic drinks mixers, leaving a gap in the market. “Because Coca-Cola is so ubiquitous, premium spirit brands are not that excited on focusing their marketing development alongside them, so that provides a really interesting opportunity for us,” he adds.

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