Mixing it up
Mixers are the fastest-growing carbonated drinks category in Ireland. The mixer is now deemed as important as the spirit that goes with it and the market has responded with some exciting new premium offerings. Fionnuala Carolan looks at the main players making waves in the mixers category
29 September 2021 | 0
Mixers have seen a huge growth in recent times which in part is due to the soaring popularity of gin and darker spirits, and also due to consumers stocking up on supplies to make their favourite drinks at home during the past 18 months. This, combined with the long-term trend of lighter, lower calorie and lower sugar drinks, means there has been a need for brands to broaden their product offering to include ‘healthier choices’ that strengthen consumer’s overall drinking experience.
According to Brian Greer, marketing manager at Britvic Ireland: “A sign of a sophisticated mixer is when they can be enjoyed in any form – with or without a spirit – to satisfy all drinking occasions and preferences.”
As older favourites face competition from smaller brands, it is vital that retailers mix up their offerings to ensure they stock the bestsellers both new and old. To ensure you’re stocking the biggest and most exciting brands in the category, ShelfLife has a look at some of the top mixers on the market right now.
Ireland’s number one mixer
As Ireland’s number one mixer, Schweppes continues to bring the bubbles into consumers’ lives through its unique effervescence and sparkling campaigns. As people seek to recreate special drinks at home more often, the brand has gone from strength to strength; with the portfolio line-up continuing to grow, including new additions, 12x150ml mini can Schweppes Slimline Elderflower and Ginger Ale packs.
For those wanting to explore something extra special, the Schweppes Signature Collection range has been carefully crafted with natural flavours, perfect to make any mixing occasion delicious.
Accentuating the finest spirits
At the forefront of this evolving category and lighter drinking movement is The London Essence Company, a premium drinks brand producing elegantly distilled mixers designed to accentuate the finest spirits. Each expression is delicately light at under 20kcal per 100ml, low in sugar at under 4g per 100ml and is crafted without the use of artificial sweeteners, thanks to its unique use of distilled essences.
Brian Greer, marketing manager at Britvic Ireland says: “Following the long-term trend towards sugar reduction across the world, and being consumers of premium drinks ourselves, we found that many “premium” options focused on natural credentials but were also very high in sugar. It’s important to deliver light, natural options that also have great taste to ensure overall enjoyment.”
Through its relationship with the on-trade and conversations with world leading bartenders, London Essence also recognised that high sugar mixers often overpowered the characteristics of the spirit partner, instead of enhancing them. With that in mind, the brand took inspiration from its heritage in creating distilled essences which capture the flavour of the finest ingredients to deliver aromatic signature notes and great taste, with only a dusting of sugar.
In addition to the growing need for low calorie and lower sugar mixers, there has also been a huge shift change in the number of people reducing their alcohol intake following an increase in the low and non-alcohol drinks category. A trend that has not gone unnoticed by The London Essence Company and its use of contemporary flavours making the whole range enjoyable on their own or mixed to provide low alcohol serves.
“Thanks to the growing mixer market and continual product innovation, curious consumers now have plenty of options in terms of flavour and pairing,” adds Greer. “However, it is important to offer quality, taste and versatility first and foremost. A sign of a sophisticated mixer is when they can be enjoyed in any form – with or without a spirit – to satisfy all drinking occasions and preferences.”
The London Essence range is designed to bring out the best in gins, vodkas and dark spirits through mixer varieties including Original Indian Tonic Water, Grapefruit & Rosemary Tonic, Blood Orange & Elderflower Tonic, Pomelo and Pink Peppercorn Tonic Water as well as a delicate Ginger Ale and a White Peach and Jasmine Soda.
From bartenders for bartenders
In the first quarter of 2021, Thomas Henry, the Berlin-based company will expand its tonic range with two new tonic variants – Thomas Henry Botanical Tonic and Thomas Henry Dry Tonic, both created according to the brand principle ‘From bartenders for bartenders’ with the support of well-known bartenders such as Maria Gorbatschova (Green Door Bar, Berlin), Karim Fadl (Bar Tausend, Berlin) and as well as other bartenders from the international bar scene.
“As a premium mixer expert, it is important to us to meet the continuously evolving demands of gastronomy as well as to actively react to the consumer behavior with new products and drink ideas” says Sigrid Bachert, marketing and sales director at Thomas Henry. “These new tonic variants are ideal additions to our portfolio. Next to Thomas Henry Tonic Water, a versatile all-rounder with a tangy bitter note, we add a dry and sugar-reduced variant with the Thomas Henry Dry Tonic – and with the Thomas Henry Botanical Tonic an excitingly mild and floral variant to our Tonic range.”
The new Thomas Henry Botanical Tonic is convincing with its balanced taste composition and its harmonious freshness-sweetness ratio. Local and Mediterranean floral, herbal and fruity notes meet a pleasant and mild bitterness of quinine. Sloe, elderflower and spruce needle combined with natural tonic aromas, rosemary and juniper extracts bring life to the unique Botanical Tonic. A tonic that is ideal for a gin & tonic with floral and light gins and works equally well for light aperitif drinks with vermouth or in other low-ABV drink creations.
Thomas Henry Botanical Tonic has 7.9 g of sugar per 100 ml and will be available from October through Dalcassian Wines & Spirits.
Thomas Henry Dry Tonic is the second new tonic variant created with a focus in the on-trade to meet the growing demand for less sweet and low-calorie drinks. Thomas Henry Dry Tonic is sugar-reduced, less sweet and therefore leaves more room to unfold the full taste potential of the spirits it gets paired with. In the taste, the tonic is rather dry, with citrus in the finish and a pleasant residual sweetness. With 6.5g of sugar per 100 ml, Thomas Henry Dry Tonic is the ideal tonic composition for a refreshingly light and pleasantly dry taste experience for gin & tonic and other low-ABV drink creations. Thomas Henry premium mixers are now available in four packs through O‘Briens, Tesco Ireland, Joyces and leading independents.
Made with imagination and fun!
Made sustainably in Co. Wexford, inspired by a love for our island’s native ingredients, people and culture, Poachers Drinks is Ireland’s leading premium mixed drinks brand. Each drink in the Poachers collection is made with imagination, finesse, and a little fun, and realised in a stylish and natural way. The range has seven lower in sugar flavours that embrace unique, native Irish ingredients. Made to delicately enhance and never overwhelm premium spirits, they can also be enjoyed as a sophisticated no alcohol serve.
This year, Poachers beat off competition from 95 products from around the world at the renowned Spirits Business Global Masters Series in London. Their Wild Tonic with Irish Elderflower was the first ever winner of the Taste Master award in the Tonic and Mixer Masters. The range also includes: Classic Tonic with Irish Thyme; Citrus Tonic with Irish Rosemary; Light Tonic with Irish Rosemary, Ginger Ale with Irish Apple, Soda Water and Ginger Beer with Irish Chilli.
Poachers now exports to over eight countries and is available in select retailers and some of the most prestigious and innovative Irish bars and restaurants worldwide. For more information, visit www.poachersdrinks.com.