Fever-Tree eyes dark spirit mixer growth

Fever-Tree bosses Tim Warrillow and Charles Rolls are set to extend their mixers range, responding to “pent up demand” in the sector.

The UK-based company’s focus for future launches is mixers to accompany dark spirits – around “60% of the international spirits market” according to Rolls.

Fever-Tree has held numerous meetings with leading dark spirits producers, who have encouraged the launch of ‘craft’ mixers to accompany their products.

Building on the success of the brand’s Ginger Ale line comes Spiced Orange and Smoked variants – both squarely aimed at the whisky and mixer market.

The products are undergoing a soft launch in the UK (a market which accounts for about 45% of the brand’s sales) with around 20 bars and selected independent off-trade accounts trialling the products. A full UK roll out is planned for this autumn.

The products are likely to hit the US early next year with strong sales anticipated. The US, about 25% of Fever-Tree’s business, has seen faster growth on its ginger beer line than its tonic waters.

Rolls told DI flavoured soda waters are also in development, again looking to build on the whisky opportunity.

Last year Fever-Tree launched a Madagascan Cola variant to pair with rum and has already struck up a partnership with Havana Club to co-promote the combined serve.

Warrillow said Fever-Tree was “not taking on Coca-Cola” other than in the mixer market, with Rolls adding that the industry-leading soft drink is a “disaster with spirits” and that it was an “accident that it got into a Cube Libre”.

Asked if the Fever-Tree portfolio is in danger of becoming bloated, Warrillow said their launches had regional focuses, aimed at meeting individual market needs.