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Mixers up their game
Published:  01 December, 2017

As consumers become increasingly hooked on product provenance, premium mixers are tapping into the trend. By Tracy West

WE’RE IN AN AGE WHEN consumers like their food and drink to tell them a story. They demand authenticity and want to know exactly where it came from, and how it was reared and/or grown. Such information has been commonplace with products such as steak and wine for some time, but it’s now more prevalent with mixers.

At Franklin & Sons, for example, the foundation of its tonics and mixers is Staffordshire water and the finest British sugar.

Meanwhile, Spanish brand Indi & Co is made via a “detailed and intricate production process”, which takes eight weeks. Botanicals from around the world are macerated and then distilled in antique copper pot stills within the company’s 200-year-old distillery.

And communication of the process is working as Indi is performing particularly well in Italy, in the premium on-trade channel where some of the best bartenders in the country – including Mirko Turconi, named Best Italian Bartender 2017 – favour the brand.

Noemi Calaresu, key account manager for Indi Essences, says: “Another important European market is Germany, in both the premium on and off-trade channels. In a blind tasting, German drink magazine Falstaff rated us as the best tonic in the market.

“We’ve also recently had a wave of interest and sales in Scandinavia, where the G&T trend has not yet reached its peak. First in Denmark, then Sweden and Norway.”

Calaresu says the brand is also doing well in the US, Mexico, South America and Hong Kong – where the strawberry tonic is particularly popular.

GLOBAL SUCCESS

Meanwhile, the UAE is a key market for Franklin & Sons according to Jen Draper, head of marketing. “Gin and other spirits are rising in popularity there, pushing up sales of tonic water and mixers. Premium gin in particular is currently in growth (up 10%,

according to GBL data), mainly driven by the on-trade in four and five-star hotels and resorts.”

Of course, you can’t mention premium mixers without mentioning Fever-Tree, which is enjoying tremendous success across many markets. Indeed the brand is exported to 65 countries and is available in some of the world’s best bars, hotels and restaurants.

Richard Cuthbert, international marketing director at Fever-Tree, says: “We are the largest and fastest growing premium mixer business globally and so are fortunate enough to have great access to developments in the international bar trade. Bartenders and operators that have championed our product from the start trust in our product launches, which helps the consumer discover new flavours. At Fever-Tree we aim to drive trends, responding to customer market research with new product development.”

Cuthbert says the company’s dark spirits range is a perfect example of this NPD, with which it is hoping to work its magic on the category, as it did with the G&T. “Globally premium dark spirits, including whiskies, rums and brandies, are the most consumed premium spirits, making up 60% of the total premium spirits consumption compared with gin at just 6%, so it made sense to develop a portfolio reflecting this.”