The growth in sales of spirits has been a boon for the mixers category, whose sales have grown during the past year, although quite by how much is a matter of some debate. According to Britvic’s Soft Drinks Review, sales grew by 2% in value to more than 200m [pounds sterling], while Coca-Cola Enterprises reports the category grew by 3.2% last year, up to 292m [pounds sterling].
Premium mixers from the likes of Fever Tree, Fentimans and Bottlegreen can take much of the credit for this upswing. Through use of quality and often esoteric ingredients, strong branding and campaigns that hammer home the need for premium spirits to be matched with high-grade mixers, such players have succeeded in making premium mixers mainstream.
In the world of cocktails, the chances are you’ve seen it all before as everyone is looking backwards to move forwards. The vintage resurrection has taken hold and is influencing everything says James O’Connor, of Hendrick’s Gin. And mixologists are now creating cocktails to showcase the taste profiles of high-quality spirits, rather than obscure them. Rather than masking the taste of poor quality spirits, these cocktails enhance the taste of the finest liquor, says Diageo’s Rob Poulter.
Spritz gets funky
Funkin has launched its pre-mix wine cocktails on these shores following the range’s success in the US. Its Spritzers are billed as lower abv fruity cocktails that are made with still or sparkling wine and include the Strawberry Spritzer, which combines Jacob’s Creek Moscato and Funkin Strawberry Daiquiri cocktail mixer. Its range of cocktail mixers includes Strawberry, Mixed Berry, Passion Fruit and Cape Gooseberry.
Respect your elderflowers
Fever Tree has bolstered its selection of natural premium mixers with a new tonic that makes use of archetypal British summer ingredient elderflower. Elderflower Tonic is said to encapsulate the taste of summer with the delicate flavour of the elderflower balanced by the soft bitterness of the quinine. Fever Tree says it provides a seasonal twist to the classic gin and tonic.
Coca-Cola Enterprises has refreshed the packaging for its Schweppes brand of mixers to give its bottles greater standout in bars and restaurants.
The updated look is part of the company’s push to increase the appeal of the brand among adults aged 35 and over, and will be accompanied by a series of on trade marketing initiatives in the coming months.
Schweppes remains the number one mixer brand, and has recorded sales growth of 5.1% in the past year.
Carluccio’s takes up pre-mix
Carluccio’s has expanded its drinks offer with a bespoke aperitivo cocktail. Created by London-based cocktail company Pontoon, the drink is a mix of wheat vodka, Apero, aperitif wine Cocchi Americano, citrus and pinot grigio, and is being rolled out across Carluccio’s restaurant estate. The drink is stored frozen and staff can quickly temper each serve to pour over ice and deliver to the table. The national chain says it has gone down the pre-mixed route to guarantee consistency of the drink throughout the whole business.
Belvoir goes coconuts
The recent spike in sales of coconut water in the off trade, combined with the ongoing rise of the Mojito, has inspired premium soft drinks producer Belvoir Fruit Farms to develop a new product. The Lincolnshire based company, known predominantly for its use of English fruit and flowers in its drinks, has entered what it describes as the ‘convenient exotic mixers’ category with its Coconut & Lime Presse.