Season of Soft

Whatever the reason, soft drinks seekers will look for a wider, healthier and more adult soft drink selection this Christmas. We review some soft drinks selections in our Industry Report.



At this time of year soft drinks sales rise significantly in Ireland’s on-trade. The explanations for this range from avoidance of over-consumption of alcohol on the pre-Christmas party circuit to being designated driver for a party of pub-goers during the Festive season.

Soft drinks sales

Sales of soft drinks’ grew 11% last Christmas compared to Christmas 2020 according to NielsenIQ with carbonated drinks enjoying a €4 million increase in sales in the eight weeks ending on the 26th of December 2021 compared to 2020.

In the on-trade CGA’s On Premise Measurement data compared figures for pre-Covid Christmas soft drinks performance with those of last Christmas.

It found that soft drinks volumes were greatly diminished – by 42% – while mixers showed a fall of nearly 40% between Christmas 2019 and Christmas 2021.

This led to a 41% drop in soft drinks value to just €49.3 million last Christmas compared to €83.6 million in Christmas 2019.

Mixers, too, suffered a drop in values of 38% dropping from €19.3 million at Christmas 2019 to €11.9 million by Christmas ’21 although it has been pointed out that on-trade restrictions were still in place last Christmas.

Nevertheless with the range and quality available to the on-trade for its more demanding customers this Christmas and with this being the first ‘real’ Christmas in three years coupled with a World Cup in the offing, there’s only one way sales can go – and that’s up.

Designated Driver brings ‘Real Magic’ to Christmas festivities

As the Christmas season returns in full swing for the first time in two years, Coca-Cola HBC brings back Real Magic with the return of its annual Designated Driver initiative.

The campaign seeks to reward Designated Drivers who stay sober on nights out to ensure friends and family get home safely with two free products from the Coca-Cola range: Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Fanta, Sprite, Deep RiverRock and Fruice.

Not only will Designated Drivers be rewarded with two drinks across participating venues in Ireland and Northern Ireland, but Coca-Cola is also partnering with Q-Park to offer free parking spots in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast every weekend in December.

This year to add even more Real Magic and recognise the important role Designated Drivers play, the Coca-Cola elves will add some sparkle and valet two Designated Driver cars at each location every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December.

The initiative is supported by all leading trade associations in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Designated Drivers can avail of the two free soft drinks by making themselves known to bar staff at participating venues.

To find out how to book a Designated Driver parking space for free and be in with a chance to have their car valeted consumers can visit

Designated Driver runs from the 1st of December to the 1st of January.Participating venues will be featured on

Sip into something festive this Christmas with Schweppes!

The Island of Ireland’s Number One mixer Schweppes, holding 47.6% of the category by value, is kicking-off the Festive Season with its Christmas campaign ‘You’ve got the Christmas spirit, we’ve got the tonic!’, once again driving brand relevance at this key time of year.

Kicking-off in November, the campaign creates cut-through in moments that matter spanning TV, Out Of Home, social, PR and experiential activations across both on- and off-trades.

Schweppes will drive footfall into on-trade venues this season, offering consumers a complimentary Gin & Tonic. This will see over 2,500 drinks served to target consumers across participating bars on the island, positioning Schweppes as the mixer of choice this Christmas.

“Christmas remains a pivotal time for the Schweppes brand,” explained Andrea Whyte, Marketing Director, Coca-Cola HBC, “Demonstrating the popularity of the Number One mixer, over 1 million litres of Schweppes sold in the grocery channel last December which is around 24 litres every minute!”

Aisling Wilde, Frontline Activation Lead at Coca-Cola Ireland added, “Our hope is that Schweppes forms part of the enjoyment during the festive season this year with friends and family.

“We will continue with that tone of voice and we will also respond to consumer demand for a high-quality product to pair with premium spirits during the holiday season.”


The brand’s mission this Christmas will be to support the on-trade during one if the busiest periods of the year. On-trade deals and free stock will be provided to outlets, driving transactions and availability of key Schweppes packs. The support includes glassware and ‘gin trees’ to keep the brand top-of-mind for customers and patrons in-outlet.

Schweppes continues to build relationships with bar staff across the country by sharing a newly developed ‘suggested serve’ booklet. The sales team will also work in partnership with outlets to activate the Schweppes brand on menus, highlighting mixability opportunities and suggested serves.

Schweppes will also provide mixability gift boxes including samples of Schweppes Pink Soda and Elderflower, glassware and miniature spirit bottles for key on-trade customers to provide as giveaways on their own social media channels, driving interaction this Christmas.

With additional takeovers by the brand at flagship venues in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast, visibility of Schweppes will be at an all-time high this Christmas.

Club mixers: a new look for iconic Irish brand

The number One Irish Mixer brand Club has unveiled its bold new vibrant design.

This sees the brand move closer to the Club master brand, with the energy from the Club brand mark echoed and built on by illustrations from its past that radiate out in a fun and playful style.

“It’s very important for us to keep such an iconic Irish brand contemporary and relevant to the modern consumer,” said Brian Greer, Marketing Manager, Britvic Ireland, “Not only has our focus over the years been on delivering a unique and superior taste experience, we know Irish consumers are eager to buy local brands – especially ones that matter more to them.”

Club’s new modern Irish design is intended to appeal to a broader, younger audience, focusing on the attributes of heritage, quality and reliability.

“We’ve big growth ambitions over the next five years and this next evolvement of the brand has been designed to transform how we engage with consumers while emphasising our Irish values through our unique history,” he said.

Available in 125ml and 200ml Non Returnable Bottle format for the licensed channel, Club Mixers’ portfolio offers a wide range of flavours, best enjoyed chilled over ice with a garnish of choice.

Club Mixers are the perfect accompaniment to spirits, expertly designed to blend deliciously with gins, vodkas and whiskeys.

Poachers Drinks/Modern Irish Mixers

Fast-growing Irish drinks brand Poachers Drinks continues its trajectory during 2022.  “Customers continue to be more adventurous and demanding in their choice of drinks,” says Brendan Colbert, Founder and Managing Director of the brand, “The growth in our Irish and international business has been highly substantive since January 2022.

“Irish produce has such a superb reputation for quality on the international stage – it’s something we need to protect and nurture.

“With Poachers we wanted to translate that dynamic for a modern Ireland where customer habits are changing but continue to be rooted in quality and great flavour.

“Where we can’t produce an input ourselves we source sustainably from the best producers available.”

Exciting new launches

Poachers’ award-winning range will be extended for 2023 with new additions including ‘Poachers Lemon and Irish Mint Tonic’ and a new ‘Poachers Grapefruit Soda’.

“It will extend our range to accommodate for the full spectrum of white and dark spirts”.

New International partnerships for 2023

Premiumisation continues to be the driving force.

“We’ve some great new markets for 2023. We’ve just signed an exclusive five-year agreement with a strategic partner for the fast-growing Chinese market. It’s a highly sophisticated drinks market below the surface.”

‘The Mónóg Sleigh’:

40ml of Irish Gin

20ml freshly-squeezed Lime juice

10ml simple sugar syrup

5 to 6 fresh muddled Cranberries

garnish with fresh Mint leaves

top with Poachers Classic Tonic.

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