CHRISTMAS remains big business for Shloer, the fruit-based, sparkling soft drink.
Around 40% of the brand’s volumes are sold in the build-up to the festive season, with literally millions of households expected to buy a bottle in the coming weeks.
But the brand, which began making inroads into the on-trade this year, is no longer as reliant on Christmas as it once was.
Head of brand marketing Amanda Grabham said recent years have seen owner SHS Group reshape its strategy to build sales more evenly around the year.
“As a brand, our annual volume has consistently grown across the board,” she told SLTN.
“Interestingly, we’ve done that by growing at Christmas but, more importantly for us, by growing outside of Christmas. It’s positive for us because we’ve managed to grow the brand but also reduce its reliance on Christmas.
“But Christmas is still absolutely huge for us in terms of consumers picking us up, because the brand is very occasion-led.”
The Shloer brand comprises a core range (white grape, red grape and rose) augmented by three further flavours (white grape & elderflower; white grape, raspberry & cranberry; apple & white grape) and two seasonal punch variants (fruit and berry).
Most sales continue to take place in the off-trade but distribution is slowly building in the on-trade, chiefly in the Mitchells & Butlers managed estate under the Toby Carvery and Ember Pub and Dining brands. “The approach we’re taking is very family-friendly, food-led – that’s the type of outlets we’re going after because we feel they’re right for the brand,” Grabham said.
“When we speak to consumers they can’t understand why we’re not in the on-trade – they say they drink it with their Sunday lunch or when they have their family over, so they can correlate that with an on-trade environment.”
As yet the brand, which is sold in pubs in 275ml bottles (red grape and white grape), is not available in the Scottish on-trade, but Grabham said there’s a strategy to change that. “We’re looking to expand distribution next year – Scotland is an important region for the brand; it performs well in the off-trade in Scotland,” she said.
In the meantime, Shloer can be seen in shops and supermarkets as a key part of the festive drinks offer, and on TV through its sponsorship of ITV food show ‘There’s no taste like home’; on-trade activity down south will also see it promoted as part of Sunday lunch deals.