Pubs should take the tonic high road

Premium tonics are being sought out and bars have to be ready to meet demand

New tonic water and mixer variants can provide an opportunity for operators, said firms

WHAT’S good for the goose is good for the gander; just as the clamour for gin has rocketed there is a clear correlation with the number of drinkers seeking out tonic waters and mixers of all varieties.

And licensees that stock a well-thought out range of mixers, which take into account current trends in the market, stand to profit, drinks firms told SLTN.

James Mowbray-Pratt, Fever-Tree’s on-trade national account manager, reckons that a strong focus on providing good G&T serves will pay off across the year.

He said: “The gin and tonic is more popular than ever before and should be a focus for operators all year round.

The gin and tonic is more popular than ever before and should be a focus for operators all year round.

“It is imperative that outlets continue to meet consumer demand and provide new, engaging G&T offerings throughout the warmer months as well as changing these offerings during the winter months.”

With quality options said to be more sought after, stocking a selection of premium tonic waters and mixers is a sound approach, stated Andrew Jackson, marketing director for soft drinks firm Fentimans.

He said: “According to research by RBC Capital Markets, 80% of consumers list taste as the most important factor when choosing a tonic water, compared with just 15% who consider price the most significant factor.

“With consumers now looking for better tasting mixers in a variety of flavours, the demand for upselling to premium tonics is already there.

“Providing operators ensure they are supplying a diverse mixers range, research is showing that consumers will naturally choose the premium offering.”

That view was echoed by Jen Draper, head of marketing at Global Brands, parent firm of mixer brand Franklin & Sons.

She said: “The premiumisation of drinks has become increasingly prominent over the last couple of years, we foresee this movement continuing to grow.

“We know that consumers are more likely to choose premium spirits and this has filtered through into mixers.”

With a raft of new flavoured tonic water variants, operators can benefit from matching tonics with the right gins to augment the overall taste of the serve, said Amy Burgess, trade communications manager for Coca-Cola European Partners.

Paying attention to complementary flavours will help a venue’s gin menu stand out.

“Consumers are drawn to intriguing new tastes,” she said.

“Operators can make the most of this by pairing gins with interesting tonic flavours in order to create unique mixed drinks that will titillate consumers’ taste buds.

“Paying special attention to particularly complementary flavours and adding visually appealing garnishes will help a venue’s gin menu stand out.”

The use of distinctive tonics within a broad range of mixers was also flagged by Emma Cotton, Luscombe Drinks’ communications manager, as a way to set a gin offer apart.

She said: “We would always recommend establishments offer a range which includes a traditional tonic and some interesting variants which complement the craft spirits they have on offer.”

And while provenance has long been associated with craft spirits, there could be a move by drinkers to seek out mixers with provenance, according to a spokesman for recently-founded Glasgow-based producer Just The Tonic.

“For us, provenance is key,” he said. “Being a Scottish brand, which is manufactured in Scotland.”

Pointing to the fact that 70% of gin is produced in Scotland, he added a tonic range with a Scottish option was “important” for the on-trade.