Softly does it

Ensuring your soft drink selection is in order ahead of the Christmas party season is vital in order to cater for non-drinkers and designated drivers. Drinks Industry Ireland looks at the brands that have the most appeal around this time of year


Coca Cola’s Designated Driver campaign throws the spotlight on how important soft drinks are as part of the Christmas celebrations. Those kind souls doing the needful for their friends and families also want to enjoy a nice drink and people are willing to pay for high quality soft drinks and mocktails, so your mixer selection is also an important consideration.

The trend towards sugar reduction has not waned,  and many of the premium offerings are focusing on better quality, all natural ingredients. Following the rise in popularity of customers drinking less but more premium drinks, means there has been a need for these brands to broaden their product offering to include healthier choices that improve the consumers’ experience in terms of taste, serve and enjoyment.

According to Brian Greer, marketing manager at Britvic Ireland representing London Essence mixers, “A sign of a sophisticated mixer is when they can be enjoyed in any form – with or without a spirit – to satisfy all drinking occasions and preferences.”

We have chosen a few brands that should certainly be a priority to stock behind your bar or off-licence during the festive season ahead.

Socialising with a twist

Founded in 1783 by Jacob Schweppe, Schweppes offers a range of delicately balanced mixers, created with carefully selected ingredients for mixing drinks and quenching your thirst. As Ireland’s number one mixer, Schweppes continues to bring bubbles into consumers lives through its unique effervescence and sparkling campaigns. This year has seen some exciting changes for the brand, with the launch of the new ‘Born Social’ marketing campaign. Inviting people to step out of their normal routine instead of playing it safe. Schweppes is bringing back socialising with a twist. With the aim of elevating the socialising experience, turning everlasting bubbles into everlasting experiences.

Designated Driver helps bring out ‘inner Santa’ to Christmas festivities

Designated Driver 2023 rewards responsible drivers with free soft drinks or water

For Christmas 2023, Coca-Cola will ignite the world with Christmas spirit and invite people to bring more joy and kindness to the world. In recent years, the true meaning of Christmas may have become lost to some, with people turning away from the holiday because of surface expectations and distractions. Sometimes, we all need a reminder of the real significance of Christmas and the magic it brings.

Famously, Coca-Cola is the brand that helped create Santa, and this year it plans to expand its meaning to remind everyone of the real magic of Christmas. The Coca-Cola Santa will return to help people discover their inner Santa and remind us that kindness and generosity rules.

Coca-Cola Christmas campaign will show consumers, that whoever you are, if you have kindness inside you, then you have the spirit of Santa and a part to play in the real magic of Christmas!

Mirium Mullins leads Coca Cola Designated Drive campaign

At the launch of the Designated Driver initiative at the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s Hotel were Agnese Filippi, country manager, The Coca-Cola Company, Davide Franzetti, general manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, influencer and broadcast Miriam Mullins and Minister of State at the Department of Transport and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Jack Chambers

As the Christmas season returns in full swing, Coca-Cola HBC, alongside its partner The Coca-Cola Company, is excited to see the return of its annual Designated Driver initiative. The campaign seeks to reward the designated drivers who stay sober on nights out to ensure friends and family get home safely with two free soft drinks or water from the Coca-Cola range.

Designated drivers can avail of the two free soft drinks from the Coca-Cola range by simply making themselves known to bar staff at participating venues. Drinks from the range include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Fanta, Sprite, Deep RiverRock and Fruice.

For the 19th year in a row, Coca-Cola HBC’s Designated Driver campaign is back to reward those drivers who get loved ones home safely after a night out. With a 26%* increase in deaths on our roads so far this year, planning your route home and potentially being the designated driver has never been more important.

To help get the message out, radio presenter and influencer Miriam Mullins has joined the campaign. With 25% of fatalities on the roads in Ireland aged 24 – 30* between January – August 2023, Mullens hopes to drive the designated driver message home to young people across the island.

According to Mullins she is delighted to be involved with the Coca-Cola campaign. “We all love celebrating with our friends over Christmas and there is no better way to finish a night out than getting that message to say a friend is home safe. I hope I can do a small part to get the message out to encourage everyone to be a Designated Driver with Coca-Cola this Christmas”.

Also speaking at the launch was Minister of State at the Department of Transport and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Jack Chambers said that a disappointing trend in recent years has seen an increase in road deaths and 2023 has proven to be an incredibly tragic year on our roads. “Unfortunately, 166 deaths have occurred on our roads already this year, an increase from 132 compared to the same period in 2022,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to reduce road deaths and prevent further tragedies from devastating families, friends and communities. The Designated Driver campaign encourages safe behaviour, recognises that staying sober should be celebrated and rewards those that get their loved ones home safe.” 

Designated Driver runs from 1 December 2023 to 1 January 2023 and participating venues will be feature on   

Speaking on behalf of Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, Davide Franzetti, general manager said: I am incredibly proud that we are marking 19 years of the Coca-Cola Designated Driver campaign of rewarding safe drivers and of partnering with our incredible customers in the hospitality industry who make this initiative possible. This is my first time seeing the initiative in action and I am looking forward to playing my part and being a Coca-Cola Designated Driver over the Christmas period.”

Designated Driver is supported by the Department of Transport, the Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána, Drinkaware, Licenced Vintners Federation, Vintners Federation of Ireland, Irish Hotels Federation and Restaurants Association of Ireland in the Republic of Ireland.

*26% increase is based on year to date comparisons available on An Garda Síochana website.

**Age demographic is based on the RSA’s Provisional fatality statistics 2021 – 2023 report

Reaching fever pitch

Fever-Tree has pioneered the premium mixer category

In 2013, Fever-Tree was introduced to the Irish market via Richmond Marketing and has since become Ireland’s No 1 premium mixer brand. Throughout the past 10 years, we’ve seen a market wide shift towards premiumisation with Fever-Tree pioneering the premium mixer category, bringing choice, quality, and excitement back into the previously overlooked space.

Since launching in Ireland, Fever-Tree has continued to diversify its portfolio to meet the ever-evolving needs of the Irish consumer. For the brand, it’s all about putting quality back into both the on trade and at home occasion with one simple premise – If ¾ of your drink is the mixer, mix with the best.

Fever-Tree now offers one of the market’s most expansive mixer ranges encompassing flavoured tonics, ginger ale, ginger beer, soda water, Mexican lime soda water and most recently, pink grapefruit soda, which is made using naturally sourced ingredients to achieve the perfectly balanced, bitter-yet-sweet flavour with fresh and floral notes.

From old school classics to modern twists, Fever-Tree’s award-winning range of mixers will enhance the taste of any long drink or cocktail.

Taste of London

London Essence produces elegantly distilled mixers designed to accentuate the finest spirits

Following the rise in the popularity of consumers drinking less but better quality liquids, and the long-term trend of lighter, lower calorie and lower sugar drinks, means there has been a need for brands to broaden their product offering to include ‘healthier choices’ that strengthen consumer’s overall drinking experience in terms of taste, serve and enjoyment.

At the forefront of this evolving category and lighter drinking movement is London Essence, producing elegantly distilled mixers designed to accentuate the finest spirits. Each expression is delicately light at under 20 kcal per 100ml, low in sugar at under 4g per 100ml and is crafted without the use of artificial sweeteners, thanks to its unique use of distilled essences.

Brian Greer, marketing manager at Britvic Ireland said: “Following the long-term trend towards sugar reduction across the world, and being consumers of premium drinks ourselves, we found that many “premium” options focused on natural credentials but were also very high in sugar. It’s important to deliver light, natural options that also have great taste to ensure overall enjoyment.”

Through its relationship with the on-trade and conversations with world leading bartenders, London Essence also recognised that high sugar mixers often overpowered the characteristics of the spirit partner, instead of enhancing them.

With that in mind, the brand took inspiration from its heritage in creating distilled essences which capture the flavour of the finest ingredients to deliver aromatic signature notes and great taste, with only a dusting of sugar.

Greer adds: “Thanks to the growing mixer market and continual product innovation, curious consumers now have plenty of options in terms of flavour and pairing. However, it is important to offer quality, taste, and versatility first and foremost. A sign of a sophisticated mixer is when they can be enjoyed in any form – with or without a spirit – to satisfy all drinking occasions and preferences. Therefore, not only do we have a fantastic range of tonics and gingers, but also a delicious selection of crafted soda’s includes our Pink Grapefruit and Roasted Pineapple which we launched last year and are already receiving fantastic reviews from bartenders and found on many drinks lists nationwide. We are also overwhelmed with recent industry recognition that a selection of leading bartenders – from the best bars in the world – made their selections for the best mixers and voted London Essence as @drinksinternational number 2 top trending mixer brand and the number 4 bestselling mixer brand”

The London Essence range is designed to bring out the best in gins, vodkas and dark spirits through mixer varieties including Original Indian Tonic Water, Grapefruit & Rosemary Tonic, Blood Orange & Elderflower Tonic, Pomelo and Pink Peppercorn Tonic Water as well as a delicate Ginger Ale and a Spiced Ginger Beer. Crafted Soda range includes Pink Grapefruit, White Peach & Jasmine and Roasted Pineapple

Grab Christmas by the baubles

Lucozade Energy is ready to refresh the nation in the run up to and across Christmas.  The brand has a very significant investment on social throughout the Christmas break, including TikTok, Snapchat and Meta platforms. The campaign, “Grab Christmas By The Baubles” is a contextual campaign that will resonate with consumers and keep them refreshed and revitalised as they navigate the fun, trials and tribulations of the coming Christmas period.  Research shows Lucozade is Ireland’s No.2 FMCG brand** which is a testament to the high level of brand investment ensuring Lucozade Energy is “Always On” in high-reach media across the year.

*Source: Ttl Scantrack, Value sales, Impulse Energy, YTD 8th Oct 2023






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