Leading mixer producer Fever-Tree has shared its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2019, and the company has specifically called out its growth in Australia.
Last year’s growth was driven by further distribution across both off- and on-premise channels, along with successful events including the inaugural G&T Festival last November and the Fever-Tree Gardens.
Speaking about the key factors in the brand’s growth here, Andy Gaunt, General Manager Fever-Tree ANZ, told TheShout: “If we think back to pre-COVID there has been emerging and continued growth of gin as consumers re-evaluate what the category represents. Moving from where it was five to 10 years ago when it was a dusty old category that was made up of a few brands that didn’t taste great to a lot of people, to the vibrant and diverse category it is now.
“Distillers have embraced the category as well partly through its ease of entry compared to something like whisky but also the flora and fauna and botanicals we have access to. Plus the general macro consumer trends towards lighter spirits that are refreshing and easy-ish to make and gin has been a perfect combination of all those different factors.
“As we’ve continued to see gin growth there has been by implication growth in tonic, considering 80 per cent or more of gin is consumed with tonic. Really importantly, compared to five years ago there is access to tonic water that gives you choice.
“Many people had barriers to gin and tonic because they didn’t quite like tonic or those traditional bitter gins. Now we have a range of diverse gin flavours, but also a range of tonics that are natural, fresh tasting and also compliment the different flavours.
“It’s just opened up the category and I think what we’ve done at Fever-Tree for many years is to think very single-mindedly about helping people to discover the wonderful world of gin and tonic.”
Tonic was the driving force behind the growth of mixers in 2019, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of the retail sales value growth, growing at over 22 per cent. This is in-line with the continued growth of the gin category ahead of all other spirits, which has further accelerated as consumers prepare for some time drinking at home.
According to IRI, Fever-Tree was responsible for 40 per cent of this growth across Australian retail. Over the last quarter, Fever-Tree’s share in Coles and Woolworths grocery has grown to more than 34 per cent of multipack tonic water as consumers trade up to a premium option.
In terms of which SKUs are proving popular here, Gaunt said: “The core of the business still remains the Indian Tonic, the classic tonic that we have all grown up with just re-imagined for the modern era, that remains at the heart of our business.
“But the tonic that sits alongside that and that has been playing a really important role to recruit people into the gin category has been the Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic.
“That tonic was created to recognise that all gins weren’t the traditional London Dry, juniper forward style. But there were gins that were lighter, softer and particularly Australian botanicals that are more delicate and can get easily over powered by those bitter, big quinine hits of Indian Tonic. Mediterranean has been the one that has played that job to recruit people and we are very fortunate to work with a lot of Australian distilleries and international gins as well who have been very forward in their recommendation of pairings with Mediterranean Tonic.”
He added: “The light range, or Light Tonic has also become a really important part of the business. People don’t want to compromise on taste and flavour and so don’t want to use tonics with alternative sweeteners. These can by consequence leave a sticky, cloying taste in your mouth. So the light option we have is 60 per cent less calories, still has natural sugar but a lot less and we’ve worked really hard on the botanicals to ensure the flavour isn’t compromised.”
TheShout also spoke with Gaunt about plans for the year ahead with COVID-19 in mind and what impact the pandemic has had on the business, and we will bring you that news in our next bulletin.