Selling at a premium

Meanwhile, Frobishers is doing well on the distribution front. “We’ve made fantastic inroads across Asia and the Middle East,” says Carter. “Alongside our established premium flavours we have also developed new products to better meet the palates of some of the new territories that we have expanded into.

“In Dubai, for example, where our juices are seldom mixed with alcohol but instead enjoyed on their own, we’ve developed and launched a Lemon & Mint juice drink to meet the expectations of that specific customer base.”

German-based Thomas Henry says close contact and interaction with bars and their staff means it is quick to detect new trends. The brand already exports to 48 countries worldwide and says that, while its tonic water is its most popular product, there is a trend towards premium bitter lemonades.

In the German-speaking market Thomas Henry recently conducted a series of ice-carving workshops because the company firmly believes that the quality of the ice is as important as the quality of other ingredients, such as premium mixers.


But more mainstream soft drinks brands can be viewed as premium mixers too – because they are big brand names that, by their very nature, command a premium over cheaper alternatives. Appletiser, which reached its 50th anniversary this summer, marked the occasion by teaming up with award-winning ‘cocktail guy’ Richard Woods to develop a range of cocktails. For Christmas, his recommendations include the Pine Needle Highball (5cl dry vermouth, two dashes lemon bitters, 1cl sugar syrup plus 2.5cl Appletiser).

And Orangina launched its 25cl ‘bulby’ bottle to the on-trade earlier this year and already it is listed by hundreds of bars across the UK, including the G1 chain in Scotland.

“With its combination of carbonation and fruit flavours – orange, lemon, mandarin and grapefruit – Orangina is a versatile adult soft drink and mixer that suits bars perfectly,” says Orangina senior brand manager Roxana Parvizi. “The premium adult soft drink can be paired with gin (botanicals in the spirits mingling with lemon and mandarin), bourbon and scotch (long-lasting love between whiskies, orange and lemon), rum (Orangina is the perfect base for punch-style drinks with its mix of citrus fruit) and tequila (with grapefruit and orange being world-famous mixers for this spirit).”

Consumers are not only looking for good tasting drinks, they are looking for interesting experiences too and will pay more for them. That’s the view of Russell Kirkham, senior shopper marketing manager for out of home at Britvic.

He believes operators need to put more thought into what they’re mixing with their spirits to enhance the experience. “A lot of outlets use whatever kit they’ve inherited – there’s not a lot of brand loyalty,” he says. “They’re more interested in the wine or the gin they are selling but we believe they need to put more thought into the mixers.” He says Britvic has had a lot of success with bars switching to Pepsi Max as their lead cola mixer.

“People typically ask for a JD & Coke but we’ve encouraged bars to say actually we serve Pepsi Max because we think it goes better with the whisky. No one ever says no to the drink on that basis and you are premiumising the experience for them.”