Mix to match
Just as brand call forms part-and-parcel of ordering a spirit with a mixer, today’s mixer market has become increasingly brand call-oriented and in response to this a range of spirits-specific mixers has been introduced into the market.
This emphasis on spirit mixers has taken on global proportions as even in Asia – traditionally a neat spirits continent – premium and super premium spirits are being ordered with mixers these days.
According to Schweppes, the ‘mixers’ category across the island of Ireland grew 18% year-on-year and is now worth €15.7million.
In the UK the mixer segment contributed the most growth by value, up 13.7% on last year in the on-trade according to Britvic UK, where mixer volumes were up there by 15.5%.
Indeed mixers were the star performers, growing in tandem with alongside the growth in spirits sales, especially those mixers able to avail of accompanying ‘the gin effect’, especially in food-led pubs, wine bars and restaurants, states Britvic UK.
“Focusing on quality ingredients, authenticity and distinctive flavour delivered through an elevated serve will all help to close the gap,” believes Britvic.
Ireland’s mixer market
Here at home of course, Irish bars have become a lot more premium in their appeal over the last few years and have taken onboard the growth of Premium and Super Premium spirits as well as craft spirits.
This has all taken from the undoubted potential for growth by the traditional major spirits brands.
“Premiumness” and “craft” are talked about all the time and the terms have become a huge growth driver – especially among the 25-34 year-old demographic who appear to have reduced the frequency of their nights out each month but who equally appear not to have dropped their spend overall.
This has benefited the ‘newcomers’ to the mixer market here. Their arrival has fuelled the growth of the mixer market alongside the growth in popularity of the Gin & Tonic, for example.
While some mixers suppliers would agree that they might have lost share, they point out that the mixers market has grown so much that what might have been lost in brand share has been more than made up for in volume.
What’s more, in pubs all over the country, some of those choosing not to drink alcohol have happily taken up with the mocktails on offer in a growing number of bars or they’ve chosen another form of long mixed soft drink – but even then, they’re seeking ‘premium mixers’ as part of the deal.
Many mixers suppliers have created a range of different tonics to complement specific styles of gin, for example and now have their eyes firmly fixed on the brown spirits market.
And there’s an on-trade benefit to supplying premium mixers as research indicates that those drinking them tend to visit the pub slightly more often and order more frequently than those not drinking a premium mixer.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the Premium and Super Premium – especially the Super Premium – mixers market has grown in value faster than the standard market (albeit from a much smaller base).
This tendency to order premium is particularly true of those ordering a gin & tonic mixer.
Today’s pub customer has an aversion to shoddy or poor presentation so anyone serving a spirit and mixer combination that’s lackluster in its presentation is unlikely to enjoy repeat orders.
Nearly two in five consumers would take their business elsewhere after being served a badly-made drink according to research by CGA in the UK and if that drink was a spirit and mixer combination, one in six would not order it again. If anything, they’d be more inclined to trade down to a less profitable alternative, stated the market analysts,
“Clearly, it is not solely the spirit that’s expected to perform in line with consumer expectations,” Laura Taljaard Graduate Consumer Research Executive at CGA, told Drinks Industry Ireland, “The mixer and presentation are also significant with 81% of gin consumers saying it is important their drink comes with the expected serve.” –
And not only are consumers seeking a suitable mixer for their spirit choice, they’re doing so from a background of increasing sophistication and knowledge of both the spirits category they’re drinking in and the mixers available to match their particular spirits order.
In some cases suppliers have launched a product that uses distillation of botanicals and fruits to create a ‘Super Premium’ category.
This has led to the creation of mixers made from distilled essences and these are really high quality – somewhat radical within the mixer market and constituting a new trend as it involves a much more expensive way of producing a mixer.
“They’re also designed to make the spirit the ‘hero’,” said one mixer supplier, “In the past the mixer often masked the spirit. Today’s spirit producers do not want their spirit hidden.”
And mixer brands seem happy to work alongside their spirits brothers to create the ideal package.
Schweppes launches new 200ml bottle
Schweppes classic mixers range is primed for further growth with a number of exciting brand and pack developments planned.
As the brand leader, delivering 54% of the category value the iconic ‘Schweppes’ name comes from its founder, Jacob Schweppe, the first person to discover how carbonated water could be stored in bottles. The first Schweppes Lemonade was created in 1835 and the legendary Schweppes’ tonic remains the signature taste of the brand. The tonic only uses natural flavourings and contains quinine from cinchona bark.
2017 saw the launch of a new 200ml ‘skittle’ bottle for the on-trade. Coupled with a sleek new look and feel, the new packaging will be seen across key Schweppes products for the mixing occasion.
This is just the start of the investment in the brand, with an integrated marketing plan also underway. For the first time in many years, the brand is benefitting from Above The Line investment including TV, out-of-home, digital and social media marketing.
“Schweppes drinkers are continuing to look for new flavours and innovations from their favourite brand and 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,” explains Coca-Cola Ireland Brand Manager Eimhear Daly, “This is just the start of an exciting new chapter for Schweppes which continues to have an extremely loyal consumer base.
“These developments will be supported with significant marketing investment.”
Laura Sherry, Customer Marketing Manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, 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 knowledge of mixability and spirit pairing, we’ve also partnered with expert mixologist Ilario Capraro to build brand credibility across the on-trade”.
For more information, contact your local Coca-Cola HBC representative or visit ie.Coca-ColaHellenic.com | Coca-Cola.ie.
Club Mixers – winning on flavour & taste!
Did you know that Club Tonic – Ireland’s most popular Irish tonic brand – is enjoying growth across Ireland since launching its new tonic in 2017?
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 because quality and best taste drives decision-making. Club Mixers have been lifting Irish spirits since 1852 whenThomas Cantrell invented the world’s first Ginger Ale, the brand we know as Club today.
Club Soda and Club Ginger Ale were globally-recognised for their quality and awarded 32 gold medals across Paris, Jamaica, Liverpool and New York exhibitions during the 1890s.
Club’s new Tonic, developed in conjunction with both bartenders and consumers, is truly an iconic tonic! Similarly, the Slimline Tonic, based on the original recipe, has a crisp, 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.
London Essence Company mixers leading innovation in Mixers category
The London Essence Company, using distillation techniques more often associated with gin-making, has created a super-premium range of mixers that truly breaks new ground enhancing the mixed drink and cocktail experience.
The London Essence Company reached out to some of the world’s most famous mixologists and spirits producers such as Nick Strangeway to create carefully-calibrated mixers for the 21st Century.
Unlike other premium mixer ranges, each one is delicately light and low in calories, with naturally-sourced sweetness, allowing the distinct notes of its spirit partner to shine through.
London Essence Mixers aim to flatter the all-important spirit unlike many premium mixers which mask the true flavour of the spirit.
The range is designed to bring out the best in particular gins, vodkas and dark spirits and includes Classic Tonic Water featuring its signature juniper distillate and the Grapefruit & Rosemary Tonic, featuring its signature rosemary distillate, blood orange oils and a rich bitter orange tincture artfully blended to provide the base for its Bitter Orange & Elderflower Tonic.
Its Delicate Ginger Ale provides bartenders with a mixer which allows them to elevate rather than mask dark spirits. New to the market is its Ginger Beer and a classic Soda Water. London Essence Company, through its distillation techniques, has set the bar for a new generation of super-premium mixers.