In the 2022 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Alex Bottomley, Director at Ampersand Projects, emphasised the brand’s goal of delivering the best for consumers.
It’s been a busy few years for Ampersand Projects. Since launching in 2018 with one product, the brand now has a multi-category portfolio of 17 products, a huge feat for an independent brand operated by just the three owners for the past two years.
Last year was another exceptional year in this journey of rapid growth and innovation at Ampersand Projects, according to Director, Alex Bottomley.
“We would now be one of the largest independently owned players in the Australian spirit/RTD market. All our products have a better for you focus leaning into the wellbeing trends as people’s attitudes towards alcohol change,” Bottomley said.
One of the biggest drivers for this success comes from a very consumer focused attitude and approach. Bottomley said Ampersand Projects keeps the needs of consumers at the core of all its decisions and strategies, placing this above all else.
“Building an iconic brand that has resonated with consumers has been a highlight for us. We are always flattered by how passionate and engaged our consumers are. Every weekend they are tagging us on social media sharing their experiences. There is an underground following for all our merchandise, which we always give out for free to all our loyal consumers,” Bottomley said.
“We attribute our success to sticking closely to our consumer-first strategy. This has been the pillar behind all our strategic decisions (ahead of cost). If it makes sense for the consumer and will deliver a clear benefit and is in line with a trend, then we will invest in developing a product.”
This approach will prevail into 2022 for the brand as its momentum continues, aiming to meet a fourth consecutive year of double digit growth.
Bottomley believes there will be some challenges to meet this goal though, predicting an on-shelf fight for space in the booming RTD category. The key to tackling this challenge will be a larger team that will work closely with retail partners and help communicate the market-leading benefits of Ampersand Projects.
“I believe the brands that can deliver the perfect combination of quality products (liquid) and brand engagement will have the best chance of success,” Bottomley explained.
“A challenge for us will be building up a field force team to be able to reach further and wider across the country (and overseas) and expand our distribution footprint of over 2500+ stores.”
A market-leading innovator
From the start, Ampersand Projects has kept innovation at its core in a number of ways. This includes:
- Vodka Soda & – the original flagship product that encouraged consumers to add fresh garnishes
- Pink Gin Soda & – the first nosugar pink gin RTD on the market
- Aluminium bottles – a marketfirst format that provided a new sustainable option for consumers
- Sunset Series Cooler Pack – a grab and go pack of exclusive RTD flavours that doubles as a portable esky
- 500ml spirit range – a natural extension on the RTD range, it now features vodka, vodka watermelon, gin and pink gin SKUs
- Vodka Espresso & Shake – a modern gift pack with everything to make the perfect espresso martini in one box
- Ginger Beer & – a recently released low sugar, low calorie ginger beer in a tiger-print can
The next big move will be to bring Vodka Soda Pine Lime, an exclusive Sunset Series flavour, into the market in both cans and the next frontier for Ampersand Projects – keg format.