Staying in might be the new going out, but the recessional trend hasn’t extended to mixer drinks. Value sales in the subcategory are down 1.5% on volumes down 6.2% [Kantar] despite some creative cross-promotional activity from the likes of Bottle Green.
The cordial brand teamed up with Gordon’s Gin in 2012 to promote its elderflower variant as a cocktail ingredient. The campaign suggested combining gin with cordial, tonic, a wedge of lime and either fresh cucumber, mint or strawberry. The recipe was promoted on neck collars on bottles of Gordon’s, which came with free 50ml miniatures of the cordial and a coupon for 50p off the next purchase.
However, it didn’t prevent a slide in both value and volume sales, which the brand is now hoping to reverse with two new mixer drinks: pink and elderflower tonic water. “As well as opening up new opportunities for the brand, the tonic waters will also bring a new, fresh and contemporary dimension to the £130m mixer sector,” says managing director Simon Speers.
Iced coffee brand Jimmy’s is also eyeing spirit brands with growing interest. “We are in talks with spirit companies to see if we can create brand partnerships between Jimmy’s and other brands to create some rather splendid cocktails,” says Jim Cregan, founder and managing director of Jimmy’s.
Meanwhile, premium tonic brand Fever Tree has focused on health to attract new consumers. Its Naturally Light range replaces raw cane sugar with fructose, reducing the calorie content by 50%.
It has also pioneered a tonic water designed for more subtle spirits, such as vodka. “Our Mediterranean tonic water is less bitter, with the use of botanicals such as rosemary and lemon thyme,” says on-trade marketing executive Luke Benson.
Such moves have made it “one of the fastest-growing drinks companies in the UK”, he adds.
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Mixers try combos to tackle mixed sales picture