Something for everyone!

Now more than ever, ‘Christmas drinks’ doesn’t have to be about alcohol. An increased focus on healthy options, as well as the knock-on effect of the sugar tax, means innovation in the area is more concentrated than ever, writes Doug Whelan


Brand Central

19 November 2018

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A well-stocked soft drinks shelf is essential for every festive season, but none more so than in 2018. With the renewed focus on healthier options, consumers reducing their alcohol intake and the myriad effects of the sugar tax causing brands and retailers to rethink their overall approach to drinks, the Christmas season is set to see a different type of purchasing pattern emerge.

Consumers will always show loyalty to the most recognisable brands in the soft drinks aisle. Nevertheless, Coca-Cola is not resting on its laurels and has overhauled its entire offering this year to include revised pack sizes, new multipack innovations and prices, as well as a reformulated range.

Meanwhile, other well-known brands as well as relative newcomers have innovated in order to appeal to the new type of health-conscious consumer.

With a range of sophisticated choices for all ages and palates, no shelf space will be going to waste with these essential Christmas soft drink offerings.

Holidays are back!

The festive season will really kick off with the launch of the beloved Coca-Cola ‘Holidays are Coming’ TV ad, which first aired in 1995.Coca-Cola will launch the festive season for the nation once again with its much loved TV ad broadcasting across screens from the endof November. The ad marks the start of the season for many families, and will undoubtedly stir up the nostalgia and magic of the Christmas season.

Meanwhile, the glowing ‘Holidays are Coming’ Christmas truck has itself become an iconic symbol of Christmas and will also take to Irish roads this December for its annual tour of the country. A visit to see the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck has become a firm favourite for families.

The truck (a Peterbilt 587, fact fans) will make its merry way around stops across Ireland and Northern Ireland. More information on the dates and locations will be shared on later this month.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola returns as a premier sponsor of Christmas FM, helping keep the magic of Christmas across the airwaves this season. The brand will also be visible on highways and byways, as an entire fleet of Air Coaches are set to be branded with Coca-Cola’s Christmas cheer, bringing some festive fun to those arriving home for the season.

Meanwhile, in-store, Christmas will come to life with Coca-Cola’s unique Santa Claus imagery across the brand range, activated through more than 3,000 displays across the island. Shoppers will also have the chance to receive a free Santa hat or socks with every purchase of ‘two x 500ml’ bottles.

Coca-Cola will also respond to shopper needs for more premium experiences at home with its four-pack glass pack, which is continuing to grow in importance within the range. The Coca-Cola glass pack delivers a unique offering for those socialising or hosting friends and family at home, while helping to drive incremental revenue for retailers. The four-packs will be available in Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke, and shoppers will receive a free bottle opener or Coca-Cola Christmas glass with every purchase.

“Christmas is an immensely important time for shoppers and retailers alike,” says Paul Diver, national convenience account manager for Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and NI. “We are so proud that Coca-Cola remains a cornerstone of the season, igniting a sense of joy and happiness in so many.

“Christmas 2018 will be an exciting time for the brand, and we will be sure to bring this excitement in-store for our customers and shoppers, with the return of the four-pack glass range, opportunities to avail of free Coca-Cola Christmas merchandise, and thousands of impactful displays in outlets across the country.”

Coca-Cola Original Taste is the biggest soft drink brand at Christmas with sales of €26 million during last year’s season. The whole Coca-Cola range contributed to 23% of the total ‘non-alcoholic ready-to-drink’ category in 2017, with sales of over €48 million and 9.3% growth compared to the previous year.

**(Source: Nielsen IOI Value Sales Q4 2017 vs PY)

Cordially fruity!

Last year Britvic Ireland introduced two brand new subranges to its already popular Robinson’s product offering. The new ranges include Robinsons Fruit Creations and Robinsons Fruit Cordials, and are available to order now.

The all-new Robinsons Fruit Creations brings a range of fresh and exciting flavours, each of which contains twice the fruit of the current core Robinsons range. The extra fruity new range, available in three new flavours, contains no added sugar and will appeal to adults seeking more exciting flavour blends. The range has an RSP of €2.69, providing consumers with a perfectly balanced drink bursting with flavour.

In addition, a more sophisticated Fruit Cordial range was also introducedbringing exciting combinations of real fruit and botanicals to consumers. The range is sweetened from natural sources and contains no artificial colours or flavours. It has only 50 calories per serving and comprises three new flavour combinations: Pressed Pear & Elderflower, Raspberry, Rhubarb & Orange Blossom and Crushed Lime & Mint. All carry an RSP of €4.

Further to establishing its premium positioning, the new range is now available in premium 500ml glass bottles, offering consumers a more refined drinking experience. The new range was crafted using flavour experts and is completely new to the brand.

“We are committed to meeting the changing needs of our consumers,” says Caroline Hyde, marketing manager for Britvic Ireland. “Our new product range offers new andexciting fruit pairings to both the Robinsons brand and the flavour enhancers category, which have been expertly selected by our flavour enthusiasts.”

Robinsons Fruit Cordials and Robinsons Fruit Creations will be supported by an in-store activation programme.

A hint of fruit

Family-owned Celtic Pure Irish Spring Water has launched a brand-new range of flavoured waters to market, A Hint of Fruit. Specifically developed with families in mind, A Hint of Fruit has no sugars or artificial sweeteners, only uses naturalflavours and benefits from the addition of vitamins B6, B12 and Biotin. This makes the range unique in the busy Irish soft drinks market.

The Hint of Fruit range includes a 500ml bottle available in four varieties. Namely, Lemon & Lime; Apple & Elderflower; Strawberry & Watermelon; and Orange & Raspberry.

Each flavour is sold individually as well as in multipacks of six for convenience. The brand also offers a 250ml kids range, with three flavours specifically developed with children in mind: Apple & Blackcurrant; Strawberry & Watermelon; and

Lemon & Lime. Sold in convenient 10-packs, the 250ml bottles feature resealable sports caps to suit lunch-boxes as a refreshing sugar-free treat.

The new range will meet the Irish consumer’s desire for healthier soft drinks and will feature newly designed labels and vibrant packaging, reflecting the brand values more closely. It is already available nationwide in Dunnes Stores, Spar, Mace, Londis and Applegreen.

Natural choice

Naturally Cordial is produced in Wexford by Enniscorthy-based Clodagh Davis and is made from organic citrus and local Irish soft fruits. Established in 2013, the brand has grown from being available in local farmers markets to retailing in local and national SuperValu stores as well as artisan food shops and online.

Bursting with flavour, these cordials are made using just four natural ingredients; water, fruit, sugar and a small quantity of citric acid. Those concerned about sugar intake will be delighted to know that all Naturally Cordial flavours, including the Simply Better range made for Dunnes Stores, are below the recently introduced sugar levy (when diluted as recommended).

The cordials make a great-tasting drink when diluted with still or sparkling water and can be used to create mouth-watering non-alcoholic cocktails for the Christmas holidays. The selection of flavours can be mixed or used as a single pour offering drinkers an alternative this season. Whenheated with spices they make a tasty alternative to mulled wine!

The premium range consists of 11 award-winning flavours including Lemon & Lime, Aromatic Lemon, Lemon & Raspberry, Lemon & Passionfruit, Orange & Lemon, Pink Grapefruit, Wexford Blackcurrant, Orange & Cranberry, Strawberry & Raspberry, Strawberry & Pink Grapefruit and Strawberry, Cucumber & Lime.

For more information, check out

Flying without sugar

Whether it’s among top athletes, adventurers, students, professionals or otherwise demanding areas, Red Bull Energy Drink is recognised worldwide. It is a functional beverage that provides wings whenever they are needed!

Red Bull Sugar-free “gives you wings” while balancing a busy day between work and gym or during fun nights out with friends; whenever that extra boost is needed. It’s a functional beverage with only three calories per 100ml. Red Bull Sugar-free editions provide the same effect as Red Bull but contain no sugar, and join the current Red Bull Sugar-free range of Red Bull Sugar-free 250ml and Red Bull Sugar-free 355ml.

Delightfully different

Fentimans has been producing the finest natural botanical drinks since 1905. Fentimans’ drinks are hand-crafted using the finest ingredients from around the world, using the brand’s time-honoured botanical brewing technique. Creating a Fentimans beverage using this traditional process takes a full seven days.

The botanical brewing process produces the depth of flavour, mouth-feel and rich textures that arethe hallmark of Fentimans drinks today. This is the Fentimans way which has stood the test of time – with the knowledge and expertise being passed from generation to generation of the Fentimans family. The result is a superior tasting natural range of beverages which can be enjoyed straight from the bottle. The original and iconic Fentimans botanically brewed adult drink range is available in a range of unique flavours, including the delightfully different Rose Lemonade and Curiosity Cola.

Fentimans soft drinks range is available in a 750ml and a 275ml bottle and now in a 250ml can.   For more information, visit



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