A feverish belief that Queen’s is the perfect mixer
Fever-Tree launched in 2005 with a single ambition; to create a premium tonic water to mix with premium spirits. Now, it’s the international market leader with over £170m in revenue through 15 different mixer-varieties across 60+ markets.
“For decades, mixers had been neglected,” said the brand’s co-founder, Charles Rolls. “Naturally sourced ingredients had been replaced by artificial flavourings.”
Fuelled by consumers’ increased awareness of the provenance of what they eat and drink, Rolls and Warrillow went back through the history books before scouring the globe to find the most authentic ingredients for their mixer infusions. From the quinine in their tonic to the ginger for their beer – premium quality is a value central to a brand pioneering “to produce an unrivalled drinking experience at every occasion.”
“If ¾ of your long drink is your mixer, it stands to reason that your mixer’s of equal importance.”
“The move aligned the brand with an event
synonymous with quality and Britishness”
In line with these values, in 2018 Fever-Tree become headline sponsor of the prestigious and much-loved grass tennis tournament at the Queen’s Club in west London – the precursor to Wimbledon. Not its first dabble in sports but its largest by far, being a three-year commitment. The move aligned the brand with an event synonymous with quality and Britishness.
Of the partnership, the brand’s CEO, Tim Warrillow, told The Drinks Business that the “tournament is already a very prestigious British sporting event and this partnership perfectly reflects our values as a premium brand, celebrating a great summer of sport.”
This premium positioning has been strengthened by the brand’s choice of sports sponsorship vehicle: the Henley Regatta, Antigua Sailing Week, Polo in the Park, the BMW PGA Golf Championship and Test Match cricket at Lord’s and the Oval.
The Queen’s Club Championship celebration involved the brand creating a signature Queen’s edition of the classic Gin & Tonic whilst its logos were a heavy presence court-side. The matches were broadcast by the BBC and Amazon Prime video, while the previous year’s viewing figures reached 5.1m. Pretty impressive figures compared to the 5.4m Brits who play tennis at least once a year.
“The taste will forever conjure memories
of the time they were served by a champion“
After defeating former world number one, Novak Djokovic, in this year’s final, Marin Cilic took to the gin tent for the Fastest Serve Challenge, a race to make five gin and tonics of premium quality to be judged by members of the public. For those fans, the taste will forever conjure memories of the time they were served by a champion.
The Queen’s tournament has proved a playfully valuable vehicle for reaching consumers who appreciate product quality and provenance.
This year, Fever-Tree added the US to its European strongholds in the UK, Germany and Italy, and overtook Coca Cola and Walkers with a 125% rise in growth-rate. Having also leapfrogged Schweppes in sales, it is now the highest-selling mixer brand in Britain’s supermarkets.
“The use of Queen’s is reflected in the increased male interest
among a beverage historically associated mostly with women”
The brand’s rise has been hugely helped by the wider growing taste for premium and craft alcohol – sales of premium gin, for example, rose 32% to £605m in 2017. Their philosophy that “if ¾ of your drink is the mixer, mix with the best” created the perfect environment for the brand to thrive within an unsaturated market – whilst the alcohol side of the mix became more cluttered.
The use of sports as a vehicle – particularly a men’s event such as Queens – is reflected in the increased male interest among a beverage historically associated mostly with women. Data gathered by caytoo shows that in the two years leading up to this year’s tournament, males accounted for 47% of Fever-Tree mentions online. However, this increased to 51% in the two months after.
Not surprisingly, there was also an upswing in the Fever-Tree audience interested in sports, which overtook family/parenting as the second biggest interest behind food/drink. Adding in business as the next most popular interest and you have four topics that nicely epitomise the tournament itself.
So, having had two title sponsors previously spanning a whopping 39 years – Stella Artois and financial services brand Aegon – could Queen’s sense of premium-ness mean it will be mixing it with another very long-term partner in Fever-Tree?
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