SEASONAL serves are likely to be a key part of the festive drinks offer at many outlets this Christmas – and the country’s leading ready-to-drink brand is looking to get in on the action.
Beverage Brands is promoting WKD in a range of Christmas-themed cocktails designed to be served in jugs for sharing.
From the Cheeky Chrimbo (WKD Red, Port and lemonade) and the Sour Scrooge (WKD Purple, Apple Sourz and lemonade) to the Russian Reindeer (WKD Blue and Purple, vodka and lemonade) and Cherry Christmas (WKD Blue, Cherry Sourz and lemonade), the seasonal serves are said to be simple to make, requiring either WKD Blue, Red, Iron Brew or Purple with mixers and toped with ice.
Debs Carter, marketing director at Beverage Brands, said outlets that offer festive drinks stand to benefit this year.
“The single most important message that we can give to operators in the run-up to Christmas is that consumers trade-up to premium brands around the festive period so licensees should look to focus on the leading brands as these are the ones likely to reap the greatest returns,” she said.
“At Christmas, customers tend to gravitate towards bigger, well-known brands in many categories.
“You only get one Christmas a year and consumers like to reward themselves for the preceding 12 months so licensees should stock the leading brands as these are what people will be seeking out.
“Christmas also presents the opportunity for incremental sales by adding drinks with a festive twist to regular ranges and we’re helping licensees by introducing seasonal serving suggestions for each of the WKD variants.”
Christmas cocktails aside, Carter expects ready to drinks to see a general uplift in sales over the festive period.
The volume of RTDs sold in the UK on-trade in the eight weeks to January 22, 2011 grew ahead of categories like lager and cider compared to the same period the previous year, she said.
And it seems similar sales growth is anticipated this year.
On-trade festive activity for WKD will centre on the ‘turkey head’ hats for the fourth year running; this year’s headgear is designed to resemble a burnt turkey, with more than 50,000 of the hats set to be distributed across the UK.
Beverage Brands has also produced an on-trade point of sale kit featuring posters, bar trim, hanging mobiles and signs for festive opening times.
Carter advised operators to give WKD “sufficient fridge space so as to have plenty of chilled product available at peak periods”.
“Canny operators who want to maximise their returns this Christmas will focus on supporting and displaying leading brands as these are the ones that will be in greatest demand,” she added.
“With a positive performance last winter, the RTD category looks set for another strong Christmas season.
“As number one brand in the category, and with a catalogue of successful support throughout 2011 and strong plans in place for the months ahead, WKD is ready to set tills ringing this December.”