A soft expansion in Christmas sales

Heath trends, the new sugar tax and increasing consumer sophistication are factors to be considered in how one approaches the soft drinks & mixers market today. We review this market as it enters the critical Christmas perio

The trend towards premium soft drinks continued last year with ‘niche’ brands witnessing a satisfying growth in sales. But the introduction of a sugar tax in the Budget will undoubtedly have an affect on the soft drinks market.

Heath trends, this new sugar tax and increasing consumer sophistication can be taken together as factors to be considered in how one approaches the market for soft drinks this Christmas.

For example, research conducted by Britvic in the UK last year found that 22% of customers would like to see menus divided into full-sugar and low-calorie options.

The UK is due to introduce its own sugar tax of 18 pence per litre for soft drinks with over 5g of sugar per 100ml and 24 pence per litre for those with a sugar content of more than 8g per 100ml as many soft drinks producers there reformulate their range to contain less sugar in advance of the deadline.

As part of the Budget here, the Minister for Finance is introducing a new sugar tax of 30 cent per litre next April for soft drinks with over 8g of sugar per 100ml. This accompanies a reduced rate of 20 cent per litre for drinks with between 5g & 8g of sugar per 100ml.

Research from Canadean also discovered that 62% of Carbonated Soft Drink consumers experiment with new and unusual food and drink flavours at least occasionally.

This represents a chance for producers and suppliers to tap into an expanding market segment.

Giving your soft drinks presentation as much attention as you give your cocktails (or mocktails) allows you to look at a more premium price and to upsell your soft drinks occasion.

This is important for the publican/retailer as John Nugent, Founder and Chief Executive of Green & Fortune in London, pointed out at this year’s LVA conference on ‘Your Pub’s Future’ in the Westbury Hotel this Autumn.

“The competitiveness of drinks, especially on soft drinks, is key,” he told delegates, “All the talk around the sugar tax is driving product change and innovation, allowing higher selling prices leading to increased revenues.”

He pointed out that in the UK, people are now prepared to spend £4 or £5 on a soft drink in light of the sugar tax.





Fentimans has made the finest quality natural botanical drinks since 1905. Its award-winning artisanal beverages are hand-crafted using the finest natural ingredients from around the world. To create a superior taste and wonderful mouth-feel, unlike other carbonated drinks producers Fentimans makes its drinks using the time-honoured botanical brewing technique that takes a full seven days.

The original Fentimans recipe took the finest bruised, crushed and milled ginger root then placed it in copper steam jacketed pans containing spring water gradually heated to simmering point. This induced the release and extraction of fine ginger sediment and a flavoursome botanical extract. The botanical liquid was filtered into a wooden vat. The finest herbs, natural flavouring, sugar and brewer’s yeast were added to the botanical extract and the liquid was thoroughly stirred. Leaving the live liquid to ferment into live ginger beer, this was decanted into the iconic stone jars known affectionately as “Grey Hens”. Here, it conditioned, being ready to drink within a week.

This traditional botanical brewing process produces the depth of flavour, mouth-feel and rich texture which hallmark Fentimans drinks today. The result is a superior-tasting natural range of beverages which can be enjoyed straight from the bottle.

Fentimans soft drinks are available in a variety of unique flavours, in both 275ml and 750ml bottles.

For more information visit


GAA and rugby stars for 2017 Designated Driver campaign

From left: Mayo Footballer Aidan O’Shea (Designated Driver Ambassador); Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland’s Matthieu Seguin and Chief Superintendent Finbarr Murphy.

From left: Mayo Footballer Aidan O’Shea (Designated Driver Ambassador); Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland’s Matthieu Seguin and Chief Superintendent Finbarr Murphy.

Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland’s 13th annual Designated Driver campaign encourages pub-goers to designate a driver to give the ‘Gift of a Lift’ this Christmas.

The award-winning campaign that gives free soft drinks, water or juice to designated drivers goes live from 28th November.

This year Coca-Cola HBC is making the experience more enticing by introducing bespoke ‘Coketails’ created by expert mixologist Ilario Alberto Capraro. These will be made available as a more fun and rewarding experience for the Designated Driver, providing an alternative to the usual ‘two free soft drinks’ offer. These will be showcased on Point-Of-Sale, also serving as a useful reference for bar staff in participating venues. Designated drivers can avail of one of three ‘Coketails’ or two free drinks from participating pubs and restaurants nationwide.

They build on Coca-Cola’s increased focus on the mixability occasion this year to drive mutual revenue growth for its on-trade partners. These popular drinks will benefit from a unique Christmas twist with ingredients such as clove syrup, star-anise, ginger, cinnamon and more.

This campaign also sees the introduction of new ‘mobile wallet’ vouchers downloaded via text or QR code from the website or from POS in venue.

Both the ‘Coketails’ and availability of the mobile wallet vouchers will be brought to life throughout the season with the support of ‘online influencers’ Louise Cooney and Rebecca McKinney who’ll document their Christmas nights out as designated drivers.

Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and NI has supported designated drivers throughout the Christmas season over the past 13 years investing more than €7 million in the campaign.

“We know that this is a very important period for our licensed trade partners and we want to support the local communities where they do business throughout the festive season,” said Paddy Murney, Coca-Cola HBC’s Sales Director.

The campaign is supported by An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority and Drinkaware and backed by the LVA, the VFI, the RAI and the IHF as well as the PSNI, Hospitality Ulster and the NI Hotel Federation.

To register please contact your local sales representative or the customer information centre on ROI 1890 26 22 26 | NI 0845 608 8889.


Schweppes’ new 200ml glass bottle

With the island of Ireland ‘mixers’ category up 18% year-on-year to €15.7million, brand leader Schweppes delivers 54% of category value. Now, its classic mixers are primed for further growth with brand and pack developments.

The first Schweppes Lemonade was created in 1835. The iconic ‘Schweppes’ name comes from its founder, Jacob Schweppe, the first person to discover how store carbonated water could in bottles.

Schweppes’ tonic remains the brand’s signature taste, using natural flavourings and containing quinine from cinchona bark.

2017 saw brand innovation with the launch of an on-trade 200ml ‘skittle’ bottle coupled with a sleek new look and feel which can be seen across key Schweppes products including Tonic, Slimline Tonic, Soda Water and Ginger Ale.

Just the start of the investment in the brand, an integrated marketing plan is also underway. For the first time in years the brand is benefitting from Above-The-Line investment including TV, out-of-home, digital and social media.

“This is just the start of an exciting new chapter for Schweppes which continues to have an extremely loyal consumer base,” explains Coca-Cola Ireland Brand Manager Eimhear Daly, adding that Schweppes drinkers continue to seek new flavours and brand innovations.

“There are further plans in place for the coming months that will see unique flavour extensions of the core range and the development of a more premium mixer offering appealing to current and new Schweppes drinkers. These developments will be supported with significant marketing investment.”

Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland Customer Marketing Manager Laura Sherry added, “With the continued growth in the mixers category and the rise of premium spirits, Schweppes is well placed to capture this incremental revenue for our on-trade partners”.

To enhance mixability and spirit pairing knowledge, Schweppes has partnered with mixologist Orlando Pandalache to build brand credibility across the on-trade.

Creative sampling and brand activations have been visible at key festivals and high footfall events, with a Schweppes bar including a ‘Garnish Wall’ to appeal to consumers seeking a bespoke mixing occasion.

For more information, contact your Coca-Cola HBC representative or visit |


Season’s Greetings from Thomas Henry Mixers

Thomas Henry has been available in Ireland for over two years. Since 2010, the name Thomas Henry has been the main inspiration for a young company from Berlin to produce a perfect selection of premium mixers.

The brand’s decision to work closely with leading bartenders is resulting in a big following for the brand across the globe. The development of the premium range, including unique mixers such as Cherry Blossom Tonic, Mystic Mango and Ultimate Grapefruit, has been a collaboration between invited bartenders and the Thomas Henry Innovation Team.

As a result of the quality of these mixers many drinks suppliers around the world have approached Thomas Henry to be their partners in different countries, such as the team at Counterpoint Ireland. After only seven years Thomas Henry is now available in over 50 countries and in keeping with its slogan ‘For the best drinks in the best bars’ is now available in many of Ireland’s leading premium bars, but exclusive to the licensed trade. Counterpoint, Thomas Henry’s partner in Ireland, would like to wish all our customers Seasons Greetings and best wishes for the New Year.


Club – lifting Irish spirits since 1852

To celebrate the 165th anniversary of Club Mixers, Club has unveiled a complete relaunch of its iconic range, at the heart of Irish pub culture since 1852. As part of the relaunch, Club Mixers has introduced an award-winning new tonic recipe, iconic new glass bottles in 125ml and 200ml formats as well as 850ml PET and a contemporary new brand identity supported Through-The-Line.

Since winning the esteemed ‘Three Golden Star Superior Taste Award’ as part of the International Taste and Quality Institute’s ‘Superior Taste Awards’ Club Mixers are winning over consumers in time for the Festive season.

As this approaches and gin & tonics are in constant demand, the newly-relaunched Club Mixers range is well positioned to win over even more consumers this Christmas.

The new Tonic, skilfully blended with crisp citrus notes balanced with a distinct fizz, has been exceptionally well-received by customers and consumers alike.

Similarly the Slimline Tonic based on the original recipe has a crisp and refreshing taste with fewer calories. Club Mixers’ Soda water is both bubbly and refreshing.

As well as the Tonics and Soda, the Club range includes Lemonade, Bitter Lemon and its classic Ginger Ale launched in 1852. Club would like to wish all our customers Seasons Greetings and best wishes for the New Year.

Club Mixers will be supported with a significant experiential and sampling marketing campaign including consumer PR, trade press, point of purchase communications and digital support as Club Mixers looks to reconnect with the consumer.

Brian Greer, Brand Manager, Britvic Ireland, believes it’s very important to keep such an iconic Irish brand contemporary and relevant to the modern consumer.

“Our focus has always been to deliver a unique and superior taste experience” he commented, “which is why being internationally-recognised as delivering an exceptional taste was such a proud moment for the brand and reaffirms the strength of our offering in such a competitive space.”  

Club Mixers, best enjoyed chilled over ice with a garnish of choice, are the perfect accompaniment to spirits.

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