World Gin Day falls on June 11, and SouthTrade International is calling on retailers ensure that tonic water is front and centre in their plans for the occasion.

National Liquor News spoke to Nick Harris, National Activation Manager for SouthTrade, about the enduring appeal of gin and tonic, and the retail potential of combining the two categories.

“Drinking at home has actually been pretty amazing for the gin category and the tonic category because it’s a combination which is really easy to execute with limited experience,” Harris says.

“The gin and tonic, in my view, is truly the mixed drink of the entertainer, the experimenter, the adventurous.

“There’s so much range to kind of create unique and creative aesthetic pairings at home.”

Harris’s read on the popularity of the gin and tonic is supported by hard facts, as 90 per cent of the gin consumed in Australia is mixed, and 70 per cent of it is mixed with tonic (according to a Fever-Tree consumer survey taken in Australia, September 2021).

Further insights from Fever-Tree surveys can also guide retailer decisions about tonic product placement on an occasion such as World Gin Day.

“50 per cent of mixers purchased in liquor stores are bought on impulse,” Harris says.

And according to another consumer survey, taken in the US during 2021, 58 per cent of liquor store shoppers would prefer mixers to be displayed near their matching spirit or liquor. Only 11 per cent of respondents said they would prefer them to be separated.

“All those little positioning tricks will reinforce that message of ‘oh actually, I’ve got to pick up some mixer’,” Harris adds.

In particular, Harris believes there is value in thinking about what pairings will really work for retail customers.

“It’s a great opportunity to also go: ‘if you’re picking up a bottle of Hendrick’s, why don’t you grab a pack of Fever-Tree Elderflower?’ Or it might be Malfy Citrus and the Mediterranean tonic – that’s a nice pairing.”

Harris also recommends that retailers train staff to understand mixers, just as they would with other drinks categories.

“There’s always value in upskilling your team,” Harris says.

“And in a lot of customer base situations, where people a good experience and they get a recommendation – if they get home and they go ‘wow, this was actually really insightful,’ then they’re much more likely to come back to the place where they received that recommendation.”

Offering final reflections on positioning the tonic water category on World Gin Day, Harris says: “There is a demand, so put [tonic water] in danger of being sold.

“If the tonic is located in areas which are going to accommodate that impulse, then the likelihood of selling more is going to happen, and it’s all ancillary as well.”

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