The past year has been one of great change for Fever-Tree in the Australian market. Andy Gaunt, Fever-Tree’s Managing Director for ANZ, described it as “pivotal”, and with good reason.

Not only have consumers continued to demand better mixers, seeing the Fever-Tree portfolio expand into new areas, the operation behind the brand has also completely pivoted into a new area. In mid-2023, Fever-Tree brought all sales, marketing and distribution in-house for the off- and on-premise liquor channels, while launching a new alliance with Remedy Drinks to manage the grocery channel. Giving thanks to previous long standing distributor partners, Gaunt said the busy year was an incredibly positive one and helped lay a strong base for the year to come.

“Transitions always come with challenges, especially one as significant as this, however I’m incredibly happy with how our transition played out. We recruited a wonderful new team across the country, and our focus was firmly on ensuring minimal impact in supply to our customers,” he said.

“Our focus for 2024 will be continuing to embed our new operating model as we head into the new year and ensuring we listen to our customers and respond accordingly.

From a product and portfolio point of view, our focus remains on building further awareness of both why we exist, as well as the Fever-Tree range, as we grow tonics but expand our range of sodas, cocktail mixers and gingers, as cocktails and mixed drinks continue to trend with consumers.”

Opportunity abounds

Being a premium mixer brand, Gaunt acknowledges Fever-Tree faces many of the same headwinds of spirit brands and the onpremise.

A key opportunity for Fever-Tree at this time can be found in the shift to more premium home drinking experiences.

“We’re all seeing the shift to the ‘home premise’, and once again Fever-Tree’s range is perfectly suited to help people simply and easily create bar quality drinks at home.

Further developing the mixer category across bottle shops to increase channel share and profits will be a key focus for us in 2024,” Gaunt said.

“There remains significant opportunity for bottle shops across the country to increase basket size by selling ‘serves’ – both the spirit and the mixer. We’re only scratching the surface of this opportunity… while 100 per cent of spirits are sold in bottle shops, of which approximately 70 per cent are consumed mixed, fewer than 10 per cent of mixers are purchased in bottle shops.”

Fever-Tree has exciting plans to work with bottle shop customers in the year ahead and tap into this opportunity.

Gaunt notes that this starts with simple things such as carrying a range of mixers to match a store’s best-selling spirits, and then merchandising or co-promoting them with such spirits. It also includes working closely with the spirit companies on ways to promote mixers to shoppers.

“We are ready and prepared for all challenges in 2024. We are looking forward to delivering the people of Australia better, more refreshing, tastier drinks while creating strong partnerships within the spirits industry, enabling us to help foster and nurture growth through both channels off- and on-premise,” Gaunt said.

Trending serves

When asked about the top trends predicted in mixed drinks for this year, Gaunt tipped that there will be sustained demand for “refreshing, sophisticated flavours in cocktails,” as cocktails at home continue to flourish. Fever-Tree’s top product expansion of 2023 – the launch of Margarita and Mojito mixers – will help deliver this for consumers, as they experiment and explore different base spirit choices.

This article originally appeared in the 2024 Leaders Forum issue of National Liquor News.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *