Fever-Tree tonicLifestyle

Premium tonic sales surge during pandemic

Premium tonic has overtaken mainstream tonic to become the largest segment by value in the multi-pack tonic category in Australia.

The sales boom reflects the rise in at-home consumption during COVID-19, with consumers getting into the habit of making cocktails themselves and offering them to their guests.

It’s been a pivotal time for Carl Willuweit to joined the Fever-Tree team in Australia as National Commercial & Business Development Manager. He’s been charged with leading the commercial development of the brand alongside SouthTrade International in liquor channels and DKSH in grocery.

Carl Willuweit Fever-Tree Australia

“Across the drinks industry we’ve seen ever-growing demand for simple refreshing long mixed drinks,” Willuweit (above) said.

“Due to this trend and consumers seeking out better quality drinks Fever-Tree has seen 80% volume growth over the last nine months compared to prior year. Based on our sales growth and broader trial of our premium mixers range across tonics, gingers and sodas we are anticipating even greater growth over summer.”

While it’s been a challenging time for the drinks industry during COVID-19, Willuweit said there have been many highlights during his first few months in the job.

“It’s been a pleasure to join Fever-Tree Australia, lead by Andy Gaunt (General Manager) and Caroline Wood (Head of Marketing), and our extended distributor teams across Southtrade (Liquor channels) and DKSH (Grocery).

“As a collective team there is exceptional breadth of experience, which constantly challenges your thinking to ensure best outcomes, this dynamic aligns to one of my values of always trying to improve whenever opportunities arise.

“Finally, the way Fever-Tree draws on insights and shares knowledge from key international regions around the globe has been the best I’ve experienced and enhances our conversations regarding best practices, market executions and emerging drinks trends.”

Fever-Tree’s latest ad campaign focuses on how important it is to use a premium mixer when it such a large component of the drink. It’s a particularly relevant message when gin sales are booming in Australia. Coles Liquor recently reported that its gin sales were up 50% in the first quarter of 2020.

Willuweit said the campaign is getting great feedback in the market.

“The ‘If ¾ of your drink is the mixer, mix with the best’ message is at the heart of Fever-Tree’s brand identity,’ he said.

“Our co-founders literally travelled to the most remote locations on the planet to source the finest ingredients to produce the best quality mixers possible. This spring saw the first out-of-home campaign Fever-Tree Australia has invested in and initial response from our trade customers and followers on social media have been very positive. Our awareness in market is stronger than ever and will no doubt translate to even greater sales over this peak season.”

Healthier drinking is another big trend in the off-premise. Shopper Intelligence reports that low sugar options came out on top again this year with consumers in its Off Premise Liquor 2020 report.

Fever-Tree is becoming increasingly active in that space. The company has created a ‘Refreshingly Light’ range containing approximately 1/3 of the sugar compared to other full sugar variants. Along with the rest of the Fever-Tree range ‘Refreshingly Light’ contains only natural flavours and no artificial sweeteners.

“Currently in Australia we also sell our Premium Indian Tonic Water in this lower sugar variant with the goal to launch other flavours within the next 12 months,” Willuweit said.

“In the new year we will also be releasing ‘Refreshingly Light’ (lower sugar) variants of popular flavours to cater for consumer choice.”

Fever Tree unveils low-calorie sodas

Fever-Tree is also releasing three naturally flavoured sodas for summer, each with under 40 calories: Pink Grapefruit Soda, Lime & Yuzu Soda and Italian Blood Orange Soda.

The Soda Collection is Fever-Tree’s answer to the ever-rising popularity of the spritz. The range is designed to pair premium spirits to elevate classic serves, such as
the Vodka Soda, and vermouths and Italian bitters to create summer mixed drinks.

Fever-Tree Lime & Yuzu Soda, Italian Blood Orange Soda and Pink Grapefruit Soda are available from November 18, 2020 from selected independent retailers, pubs and bars nationwide. RRP: $8.49 per 4x200mL pack.

Impulse buying boom in the off-premise

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