Now that Pimm's and Sainsbury's have settled their differences over the retailer's alleged copycat drink Pitchers, peace can return to the patios of Britain this barbecue season. Sort of.

England's back gardens will be full of World Cup parties and Pimm's aims to be a big part of that and of barbecue drinks sales in general. Brand owner Diageo says sales of Pimm's grew 16% last year, building on 14% growth in 2008.

"We had a very successful ad campaign last year that ended at a barbecue and our marketing this year will also be centred round the sector," says Pimm's senior brand manager Kshitiz Desai. "In the past our sales have been mainly in London and the south east, but this year we're going national. We're going on air during the last week of April to make the most of the May bank holiday."

WKD is also getting a mark­eting push, with owner Beverage Brands launching a £30m campaign this summer, including a wide range of trade deals and special packs.

"The brand is all about fun, involvement and sharing," says Beverage Brands marketing director Debs Carter. "We also have high hopes for our apple cider, WKD Core, in its first full summer in the market."

Sharing is also the theme for Shloer's Best Served Shared marketing programme that includes food-themed ads, online recipes, sampling, coupons and promotions.

This is the first barbecue season that Shloer Rosé, which was launched last autumn, will be available. Over the 12-week summer period last year, volume sales of adult soft drinks increased 6%, with Shloer sales up by almost a third on summer 2008 [Nielsen 28 August 2009].

Inevitably, the majority of spend and marketing focus around the barbecue season will be alcohol-related, but as Shloer marketing marketing communications controller Amanda Grabham says: "Hosts will want to offer an alternative to alcohol."

Focus On Barbecue