Soft focus

30 August, 2016

At Fentimans, national on-trade controller Dave Ward says it ticks all the boxes when it comes to a premium soft drink.

“Historically, a soft drink in the licensed sector was always a distress purchase – ‘I’m not drinking, so I’ll just have a coke’. However, with one in five adults in the UK choosing not to drink alcohol at all in 2015 and one million more adults choosing to eat and drink out of home (M&C Allegra, Top of Mind brief February 2016) the need for interesting soft drinks has never been more important.

“This is where we have responded by developing drinks that have unique and complex flavours and provide an experience that means consumers feel they are still getting a treat when they are in a pub or bar.

“A good example of this is our latest piece of NPD, sparkling lime and jasmine. It has an initial bitterness that is followed by the sweetness delivered through hyssop, lime flowers and juniper berries. The taste is complex but the drink is really refreshing, providing the credible alternative to alcohol that consumers are looking for.”

All Fentimans’ drinks are produced using its botanical brewing process, which takes seven days. “This gives each of our drinks the unique taste and mouthfeel that we are known for,” says Ward, who adds that the process has been passed down through generations of the Fentimans family since 1905.

“This puts us in the fortunate position that we appeal to the consumer demands of heritage, care and time in production and clear difference in taste. Add to this that we use all-natural ingredients, including the finest Chinese ginger root and rose oil from the famed Kazanlak valley, and we tick all the boxes.”

Fentimans is a relatively small company but still it has a sales team that visits as many bars and pubs as it can and it also carries out staff training to make sure the staff are able to communicate the unique production process to customers.

New to the premium adult soft drinks arena is Nix & Kix, which has already won several awards. Stockists include bars and restaurants in London, Brighton and Edinburgh in the UK.

The thing that makes these drinks stand out from the crowd is their ‘cayenne kick’. Designed to appeal to adult palates and those who dislike sugary, excessively sweet drinks, the still drinks come in Mango & Ginger, Cucumber & Mint and Peach & Vanilla flavours.

Nix & Kix co-founders Kerstin Robinson and Julia Kessler say: “After a long stint working in the corporate world and enjoying London nightlife, we reached an age at which one (or a few) vodka and energy drink mixers on a night out just wouldn’t do.

“We wanted to be able to enjoy our active social lives without having to drink alcohol continuously. Our taste buds had changed too, but all the soft drinks available were either too sugary or too bland. So we set out to create a new, exciting flavour to be enjoyed at home or while out and about in bars.”

It’s great to see so many interesting adult soft drinks available – bars now need to take a punt on them as, after all, premium drinks mean premium profits.

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