ALCOHOLIC ginger beer has emerged as a firm favourite with consumers in recent years – and the firms behind some of the biggest brands have high expectations that trend will continue over the festive season.
According to Accolade Wines, the firm behind Stone’s Ginger Joe, the alcoholic ginger beer market has grown 43% in value terms in the last year, with the burgeoning number of products available to consumers credited with bolstering the category’s performance.
It’s growth Accolade expects to continue over the festive season, with European marketing director Clare Griffiths claiming ginger products historically enjoy a sales spike at Christmas.
“With this is mind, there is a great opportunity for operators to boost profits during this period,” she said.
“Licensees and retailers should ensure that their alcoholic ginger beer offering is visible to consumers – POS materials will help to highlight what is available.
“Consumers are also keen to try something new and festive so, within the on-trade, incorporating ginger cocktails to your usual offering will also help boost profits.”
Accolade Wines isn’t the only drinks firm to endorse cocktails for alcoholic ginger beer.
Al Cross, marketing controller for Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer at Halewood International, said the brand is increasingly being used as a cocktail ingredient in place of traditional ginger beer. The ‘Spiffing Storm’ cocktail, for example, mixes Crabbie’s with rum and lime, while the Moscow Mule combines Crabbie’s with vodka and lime.
Echoing Accolade Wines’ views on the growth of the alcoholic ginger beer category in recent years, Cross drew a parallel between it and flavoured cider.
“Crabbie’s is also regularly stocked alongside ciders within fridges in the on-trade, given that both categories have grown substantially in the last three years, and that both products are served in a similar way, with ice and a slice,” he said.
“The growth in flavoured cider highlights how consumers are looking for quality products and are happy to experiment with new flavours and variants.”
And as with flavoured cider, which has seen a number of new products enter the market in the last few years, it is expected that alcoholic ginger beer will continue to expand.
“We’d love to see the ginger category take off like the cider category has done and we feel there are still many opportunities for ginger beverage products that have yet to be explored,” said Griffiths at Accolade Wines.
“In order for this to happen, new and exciting products have to come to market.”
Recent entrants to the marketplace include Ginger Grouse, a new alcoholic ginger beer that blends ginger with Famous Grouse whisky.
Ginger drinks have wide appeal, including with consumers who enjoy cider and lager.
Peter Sandstrom, marketing director for Maxxium UK, which distributes Ginger Grouse, said consumers are increasingly looking for “a refreshing alternative to beer and cider”.
“Ginger drinks have wide appeal, including from those who enjoy cider and lager,” he said.
“Feedback from our robust trade and consumer testing in Scotland is that Ginger Grouse appeals to people of all ages, attracting new people into the brand whilst not alienating people who already know and love The Famous Grouse.”
It is also important for these products to be promoted to consumers, and Halewood International has just launched what’s said to be its largest Christmas campaign to date for its Crabbie’s brand.
As well as Christmas-themed TV ads, the brand has been lined up to sponsor ITV1 during December. In total, Halewood hopes to reach around 60 million people with the campaign.
“It is important that on-trade outlets take account of their coolers and understand which brands are striving to be front of the consumer’s mind,” added Cross.
“Correct use of point of sale is key and a great visual tool for them to use to promote the back bar.”