Keeping our spirits up!

While beer gardens remain off limits, consumers are keen to make the most of the uncommonly good weather we’ve been experiencing this year by enjoying a refreshingly cool beverage out in their back garden or even on their balcony. With Kantar’s latest take home grocery sales data showing alcohol sales were up by a mammoth 70%, it’s vital to ensure you’ve got the right range in stock to ensure shoppers don’t return home disappointed


Brand Central

Read More:

18 May 2020

Share this post:



With pubs and restaurants likely to remain closed for some weeks according to the government’s road map for the ‘reopening of Ireland’, off-trade sales will remain more important than ever for drinks manufacturers. According to recent data released by Nielsen for the week ending 12 April 2020, sales of alcohol reached €49.3m, an increase of 44% in spend compared to the same Easter week in 2019.

Nielsen’s data specifically showed that demand for stout skyrocketed by 177%, reaching €2.7m in sales, and lager sales grew by 78%, reaching €15.3m. Table wines (+27%) accounted for €15.6m, whilst sparkling wine and champagne (+21%) reached €1.1m.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from Kantar, which showed take home grocery sales in Ireland increased by 17.2% in the 12 weeks to 19 April as shoppers adjusted to life under lockdown, also revealed a positive picture for the off-trade sector.

“There are signs that people are trying not to let the lockdown dampen their spirits,” said David Berry, managing director – Ireland at Kantar. “While beer gardens and wine bars remain off limits, people have been turning to the grocers for their favourite tipples and boosted sales of alcohol by 70%, an additional €47 million. Wine sales increased by 50% year on year, while beer, lager and cider sales benefited from the warmer weather and were double the levels in the same four weeks in 2019.”

Available in a sleek 33cl can, Fat Frog is a refreshing spirit-based citrus soda

Leaping ahead

Fat Frog is now available in a sleek and funky 33cl can. This spirit-based citrus soda with 4% alcohol is bold on energy and attitude. With its fruity flavour of citrus soda, it guarantees both flavour and refreshment with every sip.

This refreshing and energising drink is bolstered in its updated branding and packaging. The bold energy and invigorating language used in the brand’s communications is reflected in the crisp and fruity flavour of the drink – which guarantees both flavour and refreshment.

Moving away from the bottle packaging, Fat Frog is now available in a sleek 33cl can which appeals to the consumer of the modern ready-to-drink (RTD) category.

Q & A with… Sarah Jane Brangam, sales director, Cult Drinks

Q: Who is the target audience for Fat Frog and how are you ensuring you appeal to these consumers through your brand messaging?

A: The target market is for 20-30 years old who don’t want to take life too seriously; they don’t follow fads and treasure pure moments of celebration, friendship and fun. Fat Frog exists to be what we are, keep it real in every way and have the craic. Ireland is the home of slagging and having a bit of fun and Fat Frog is what it is, just great tasting ice cold refreshment. Fat Frog gives consumers the benefit of the craic and a laugh and a refreshing escape from the mundane. We think the Fat Frog brand brings the world-renowned Irish personality of friendliness, entertainment and lively conversation.

Q: How important is price as a consideration for consumers within the RTD sector?

A: Like any category, there is a price point that needs to reached and maintained in order to work. Multi buys have been effective so far as due to sustainable packaging, we haven’t grouped the can in a pack. Fat Frog is a leading brand in the Irish market with a clever and extensive marketing plan behind it and commands a premium price.

Q: How considerably has the RTD sector grown in recent years? What are the major consumer trends within this sector?

A: The original Fat Frog brand in a glass bottle format enjoyed strong success in Ireland when the first wave of the RTD movement peaked (2003-2010). As a company, we have closely watched all activity in the category and waited for the right time before investing and relaunching. The last two years has shown double digit growth in Ireland and other international markets with a major shift to a can format. Premix concepts outside the everyday spirit mixes have taken on a life of their own and Fat Frog speaks clearly to this market. We have carefully audited trends over the years to develop the Fat Frog personality and branding in the format of the 33cl sleek can. Fat Frog doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. It keeps it real and cuts through the temporary trends, niche ingredients and fancy flavours. Fat Frog speaks directly to the heart of why people choose RTDs – to have fun.

Q: How are you continuing to market the brand throughout the Covid-19 crisis?

A: In 2020, our social lives have had to transform. What mattered to us before has taken on new meaning, with every second of interaction precious in a way we couldn’t imagine just months ago. The normal pressures of the world matter less than ever – we just want real, fun experiences – to live in the moment with the people we love. Escapism, fun, and banter with healthy family and friends is what’s getting people through. Fat Frog is perfectly placed to bring the craic to every (virtual/socially distanced) party. We have directed our budget into the social and online platforms the Fat Frog consumer lives on with targeted campaigns focused on driving engaged customers in-store. We have a full schedule of influencer campaigns and online partnership events that attract the relevant target market.

Q: How are you helping retailers to drive sales through aids such as your brand toolkits and point of sale materials? 

A: We have invested in very strong visual and video assets and are running a lot of  targeted social ad campaigns. We are also providing tailored social assets/campaigns that can be used to help retailers with their own digital following. We also have a full suite of cleverly designed free standing display unit (FSDU) and point of sale tools for retailers to use. We had big plans for of a full events and festival calendar this summer but is currently on hold and we are adapting different approaches to this through virtual event partnerships and platforms.

Pick boldly

The new refreshing apple liqueur crafted with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is available in the ROI from 1 May onwards

Introducing Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple –  a blend of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey with finely crafted apple liqueur.

Made with a combination of three different apples: McIntosh, Red Delicious and Granny Smith, the whiskey has a fresh distinctive flavour (think fresh cut apples combined with warm caramel and toffee that balance with the classic spice of Old No. 7) and a smooth taste, resulting in a crisp and refreshing long serve, perfect for summer sippin’ by the BBQ.

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple will be available in 700ml format with a suggested retail price of €34.75

The new option is made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, charcoal mellowed for smoothness and matured in its signature, hand-raised new American oak barrels. This is then married with an all-natural, crisp, green apple liqueur. According to the brand, it took years to perfect, but the result is a delicious, complex Jack.

Best enjoyed as a Jack Apple & Tonic, the brand’s serving suggestion is as follows: Mix 35.5ml Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple with 150ml tonic water in a highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a crisp green apple slice.

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple is gluten free, GMO free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

According to Jack Daniel’s master distiller, Jeff Arnett: “Mr. Jack was known for being an innovator and always exploring how to do things differently, including adding different flavours and ingredients. Tennessee Apple couples the character of our Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey with the taste of crisp, green apples. It’s like a freshly picked apple in a glass of Jack.”

At 35% ABV, the blend of three different apples included in Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple, is enhanced by the sweet bold notes of Jack. It’s available in the Republic of Ireland from 1 May in 70 cl bottles with a suggested retail price of €34.75.

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple is distributed exclusively by Edward Dillon & Co Ltd. For further details, contact your account manager or sales representative. #JackApple

*(Drink responsibly. Jack Daniel’s is a registered trademark – all rights reserved)

A new virtual reality

Lambay Whiskey will appear as a featured Irish whiskey brand at the virtual Summerton Whiskey Festival on 30 May

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, whiskey fans can still enjoy informative, interesting and entertaining events online. Lambay Whiskey is partaking in many virtual whiskey events and the following have been booked:

  • Lambay Whiskey Virtual Tweet Tasting: 13 May with @The WhiskyWire at 7pm. Registration is now closed but you can still join in.
  • Summerton Virtual Whisky Festival (UK and Ireland): 30 May – registrations welcome. Visit for more details.

The Summerton festival allows aficionados to explore the world of whisk(e)y from the comfort of your own home.

While festivals in Ireland and the UK are a highlight of the summer months, they are nevertheless always held with a certain amount of trepidation simply because we can never rely on the weather!

We are all social distancing at this time, so there is no excuse for not virtually coming together for a great event, is there? Lambay Whiskey has therefore signed up to be one of the featured Irish whiskey brands showcasing at the virtual UK Summerton Whiskey Festival on 30 May. No need for wellies, rain-macs or soggy sandwiches at this festival! Rather comfy socks, your very own whiskey glass and access all areas to live streams, tasting tutorials and lots more.

In good hands

The products of eight generations of distillers, it’s safe to say that you’re in good hands with all gins adorned by Johnny Neill’s signature.

Whitley Neill Gin has a range of 43% ABV flavour gins with a story for every flavour.

The original gin was initially conceived as a tribute to Johnny Neill’s lifelong love of adventure as it started with the original Handcrafted Dry Gin featuring exotic African botanicals – like Cape gooseberries and Baobab – alongside more traditional juniper and lemon peel, creating a gentle gin with an otherworldly allure.

Johnny then wanted to capture his summers in the countryside and was inspired by the glory of the gardens around him. He was looking for familiar favourites when he found rhubarb which when accompanied by ginger creates the perfect combination. As he explains of the Rhubarb and Ginger variant: “The two flavours complement each other so well – the tartness of the rhubarb and the depth and spice of the ginger really work well together, and also alongside the other botanicals within the gin.”

Both gins can be enjoyed with the classic tonic or shake up the summer serve with Rhubarb and Ginger pairing perfectly with ginger beer for a summer treat.

The range is stocked in selected Tesco stores and off-licences. (RRP €35).

Crisp, clean and flavourful

Poitín has always been a part of the Irish community but until recently had been hidden away, viewed with a mixture of suspicion and fear. The recent revival of Ireland’s most original spirit has meant the stigma has been lifted and poitín is taking its rightful place among other premium spirits, embraced by the cocktail scene in Ireland and further afield. Today, poitín has evolved into a unique spirit of craftsmanship, high quality, and versatility, to be celebrated as part of modern Irish culture.

Mad March Hare Irish Poitín is one of the independent producers leading this revival. An award-winning craft spirit, Mad March Hare is triple distilled in West Cork using copper pot stills, using only the best, locally sourced, malted barley from farmers within a couple of miles of the stills. It is filtered and bottled at 40% for unrivalled smoothness and flavour, making it just as good over ice on a sunny day, with a simple mix, or in a craft cocktail. A great alternative to gin or vodka in cocktails – clean, crisp but flavourful – it is the perfect base to modernise and add a twist to classic summer drinks like the simple mule:

Mad March Mule

  • 2oz Mad March Hare
  • 1oz ginger beer
  • Fresh lime
  • Bitters

The brand has won many prestigious awards including the title of Best Irish Poitín at the Irish Whiskey Awards 2019, a Gold Medal at the SIP Awards 2018, Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2016 and a Gold Medal in the Irish Poitín category at The Irish Whiskey Awards 2017.

Distributed by Intrepid Spirits, the brand is stocked by the Celtic Whiskey Shop, James Fox, L. Mulligan Whiskey Shop and all leading independent retailers. A 700ml bottle of Mad March Hare Irish Poitín has a RRP of €40 (40% ABV). For more information, visit or connect with Mad March Hare on Instagram @madmarchharepoitin.

Casillero del Diablo has an option to suit a broad diversity of palates this summer, with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Rosé to choose from

Refreshing summer choices

The famous wine brand Casillero del Diablo is not only about a red Cabernet Sauvignon but includes a broad range of premium wines with invigorating whites like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay and an uplifting summery Rosé, each one portraying the essence and typicity of the Chilean varieties. In order to cater to the demand of consumers for lighter, fresher quality wines during the Summer period, Casillero’s whites and rosé will take the lead from May to September in all brand communications both above and below-the-line, from online and TV to in-store. What better way for consumers to travel and get a taste of Chile than from the comfort of their own garden?

For absolute freshness and a crisp style, try the Sauvignon Blanc, a well-rounded lush wine with peach and redcurrant aromas, balanced with citrus notes for an elegant fruity character. Another white suggestion from the brand is its Chardonnay, which delivers ripe fruit aromas, smooth acidity and balanced freshness. The grapes come from Casablanca Valley, where the vineyards receive the cool breezes of the Pacific Ocean. This, along with the unique composition of the soils, creates the Casillero signature mineral style.

Finally, the Rosé should be seen not as a variety, but as a style. This beautiful wine is made from vinifying red Shiraz grapes as if to make a white wine, but with the finishing touch of a red wine. The result is a refreshing pink coloured wine with attractive strawberry, raspberry and cherry aromas with flavours of blackberries and plum.



Share this post:

Read More:

Back to Top ↑

Shelflife Magazine