THE rise and rise of gin hasn’t just been good for publicans and distillers, it’s also provided an opportunity for drinks firms supplying mixers to the Scottish trade.
Tonic is the undisputed king of the gin serve, but it’s not for everyone. That doesn’t mean customers who shun the quinine-loaded soft drink must be left out of the gin renaissance however, as mixer manufacturers say there are a number of serves operators can offer to appeal to a broad audience.
Justin Horsman of Global Brands, the firm behind the Franklin & Sons range of mixers, said that as the demand for gin grows, “the regular G&T may not be enough to cater for some consumers”.
The desire for more innovative flavours has helped drive interest in mixers.
“Cocktail culture is growing year-on-year and, on average, outlets that serve cocktails sell 36% more spirits than ones that don’t,” said Horsman.
With demand showing no signs of abating, Horsman reckons that stocking “standard” spirits, tonics and soft drinks is “no longer enough for consumers”.
Horsman said it is therefore “crucial” for operators to bolster their range with brands that are “innovative, high quality, offer differentiation and provide an experience worth sharing”, to meet customer demand for quality.
“We have seen botanicals become the forefront for gin choice for consumers and can also see that the desire for more innovative, complementary flavours has helped to increase the trend for more natural drinks with provenance with other categories such as mixers,” he said.
Fergus Franks of tonic water firm Fever-Tree agreed that the ongoing popularity of gin looks set to continue, with the increasing number of spirits popping up on the market expanding options for operators.
“With a huge variety of gins on the market, operators have a fantastic opportunity to offer unique serves to ensure they are capitalising on the gin growth all year round,” he said.
The raft of new gins hitting the market has been welcomed by customers who have always been fond of a gin and tonic.
But it needn’t be traditional tonic water in every case.
Franks said the range of flavoured tonics on the market means bartenders can simply and quickly create a raft of different gin serves.
“We’d recommend trying Fever-Tree’s flavoured tonics, such as Elderflower Tonic Water or Mediterranean Tonic Water which are often much more appealing to customers who don’t like tonic,” said Franks.
“Mediterranean Tonic Water has half the amount of quinine as Indian tonic so is less bitter, whilst Elderflower tonic has a delicate fresh taste which is often a game-changer when it comes to liking tonic or not.”