Just the tonic

Since appointing a dedicated export team, the UK-based company has seen turnover grow by almost a third to nearly £10m and its oversea territories swell from eight to 42. Currently, one third of its revenue is export driven.

“Our biggest market is our home market in the UK,” Jackson says. “We are strong in the UK because of our heritage.”

That heritage and back story have helped the brand in export markets as well. “Unlike many newcomers to the category, we have been producing premium drinks in the UK since 1905. Fentimans’ British heritage and eccentricity has helped our brand grow rapidly in overseas markets, including the US, Belgium and Austria.”


A good story may be important, but flavours are also often a great way of recruiting new followers to a category. Europe is currently leading the way with sales of flavoured tonics, but that’s not to say the US isn’t getting a taste for them. 

“As the tonic category continues to develop, we expect to see the introduction of more innovative flavours and colour to stimulate consumer interest,” Fentimans’ Jackson says.

“Flavoured tonic is most popular in bars, where craft is king, and bars and restaurants prefer quality over the bottom line,” he says. Flavours are currently more popular in the major cities on the eastern and western seaboard, where customers are conscious of what they are eating and drinking. But Jackson says there are growing markets of this type all over the country in hipper communities where craft and flavour are appreciated.

Flavour is great at hooking consumers and crucial to keeping them for a lot of drinks producers. Tonic is no different, according to Jackson. “The biggest challenge in this category is keeping consumers interested. Tonic water is essentially a simple liquid and without future innovation the challenge will be to keep consumers engaged and loyal to tonic. New flavour and blurring of the boundaries of what defines tonic water will help with this quest.”

For Fever-Tree, flavoured tonics must be assessed on a region-by-region basis. “It very much varies by region and market,” says Moreira. “Fever-Tree Mediterranean is our longest established flavoured tonic and in markets such as Columbia and Belgium we have equal sales of our Indian and Mediterranean tonics. We see real success with the flavoured tonics when they are well explained to consumers by trained bartenders and clear gin and tonic menus that can showcase the range and pairings.”

Only time will tell if flavoured offerings, cocktails and education will thwart the mighty gun dispenser and convert US consumers and trade to giving the T three-quarters the amount of consideration and kudos of the G.