Pernod Ricard UK unveils strategic initiative to promote premium spirits

Pernod Ricard UK has launched an initiative, titled ‘Premium Edge’, to encourage wholesalers, retailers, licensees and consumers to promote, sell, buy and ultimately consume premium spirits.

The UK division of the world’s second largest global drinks company, says sales of premium spirits, defined as costing more than £13, have doubled since 1995 and £1 in every £5 spent in the off premise sector is on premium spirits. In bars, pubs and restaurants, it is £1 in £3.

Simon van Moppes, PRUK’s commercial director, spirits, said the company had identified 12 “levels of premium” based around heritage and provenance, quality, exclusivity and style with price being the “external expression”.

He described it as a “major opportunity for the industry” The premium price of £13+ was 20% above the average price, that could be £6 between standard and premium. “That means better margins and a higher point, said van Moppes.

Defining Premium Edge, he said it meant:

“One Better Case for wholesalers;

One Better Bottle for Retailers;

One Better Drink for on licensees.”

His four-step approach comprised:

“Make It Available;

Make It Easy To Find;

Make It Compelling;

Make It A Great Drink.”

Van Moppes commended the 35cl size to promote choice and trail. At Christmas the company trialled ‘The Party Collection’ which comprised 35cl bottles of Beefeater gin, Absolut vodka and Jameson Irish whiskey, along with a cocktail shaker, cocktail recipe booklet and a money off token for the next purchase of a 70cl bottle. Priced at £25.

In the company research among 4,000 consumers van Moppes said that they had discovered that in the off trade, consumers were most willing to be “upsold” in whisky but least wanted it in vodka. Whereas, in the on-premise sector it was the complete opposite. Most were willing to be traded up in vodka.

Van Moppes acknowledged the importance of going out to educate and train people, particularly bar staff, to improve their knowledge and provide better service.