The growth of whiskey and vodka sales in Ireland have seen mixers gain nearly two percentage points of the soft drinks market year-on-year. Mixers now account for a quarter of all soft drinks sales by value in the year to January in Ireland, according to CGA.
CGA’s Opus data show how spirits have flourished in Ireland since the end of Lockdown, with particularly positive trends in whiskey and vodka. This has had a valuable knock-on effect on mixers.
However, to maximise sales and share, suppliers and operators will need to understand spirits consumers’ latest habits and track how Covid has changed behaviour in subtle but significant ways, claims the insight consultancy.
For example, Opus data indicate that mixers remain most popular in the gin category, where two-thirds (68%) of drinkers choose one — followed by vodka (61%), flavoured gin (54%) and rum (54%).
“With gin sales now falling after several years’ of growth and drinkers switching to other spirits, it’s particularly important to understand serve preferences to ensure you’re implementing the right serve strategy in-outlet,” states CGA.
In vodka, cola is the mixer of choice for 44% of drinkers, ahead of lemonade (27%) and energy drinks (19%), while tonic remains the most popular mixer for drinkers of both non-flavoured (72%) and flavoured (50%) gin.
CGA’s research offers insights into serve styles and opportunities for trade-ups.
While standard bottled mixers remain the top choice for brandy, gin, rum, American whiskey and vodka drinkers according to the study, 40% of non-flavoured gin consumers now choose Premium brands.
“There are signs that draught mixers are growing in popularity too” claims CGA, “with brandy consumers the most likely to opt for them.
“Spirits sales are flourishing in Ireland” said Sian Brennan, CGA’s Client Director for Ireland, “so there are exciting chances to ramp-up mixer sales in 2022. But with competition intensifying and preferences evolving, it will be crucial to get strategies in ranging, pricing and serve styles spot-on.”
Beyond the survey, other important factors dictating final consumer choice in all soft drinks include whether or not it’s reduced calorie and/or reduced sugar content and whether the product range offers innovative flavours, whether it’s ‘transparent’ in its manufacturing and distribution, its provenance and whether it’s ‘sustainably’ produced, as well as whether it’s “good” for consumers – and of course whether it has good taste and flavour.
To learn more about the CGA’s Opus survey, e-mail Sian Brennan at email@example.com.