Pernod Ricard UK is encouraging outlets to drive sales by pairing spirit-based drinks with food with a new initiative this Christmas.
With premium spirits now accounting for 30% of total on-trade value, the premium drinks company is calling on outlets to maximise their cocktail offering, focusing on both core ranges and innovation lines in the lead up to Christmas.
Although one third of outlets now have a cocktail offering, Pernod Ricard UK is encouraging more outlets to focus on core range serves including the Pornstar Martini, Jameson Caskmates Irish Coffee, and Plymouth Gin Bees Knees.
• Absolut is the number one premium vodka with a 39% share and growing 3.8%. Vodka is the biggest opportunity due to volume, accounting for 30% of all Christmas spirits sales.
• Jameson is growing ahead of the imported whiskey category at +11.4% vs. 6.7%. During Christmas 2017, Irish whiskey was worth £21.4m up £650k verses 2016.
• Gin is the fastest-growing opportunity. In the 12 weeks leading to Christmas 2017, gin sales grew by £50m, with all Pernod Ricard UK gin brands experiencing significant growth, supported by the recent launch of Beefeater Pink.
To further maximise on the cocktail opportunity, Pernod Ricard UK is launching a new initiative, ‘Food Glorious Food’, that offers festive cocktails and food pairings for its bestselling brands in the lead up to Christmas.
The company conducted scientific research to discover the aromas in seven of its leading spirit brands: Absolut, Jameson, Beefeater, Beefeater Pink, Plymouth Gin, Monkey47 and Havana Club and matched them to ingredients that shared dominant aromas with each spirit.
The aim is to further grow sales of spirits throughout the Christmas period by encouraging people to choose cocktails and spirit-based drinks with a meal and not just before or after food.
A flavour wheel for each spirit has been developed, which can be used when creating festive food and drink menus. For example, Jameson pairs with pork and apple and Absolut with coconut and manchego cheese. Customers can be provided with hero serves for each spirit and these recipes can be tailored to the style of each outlet.
Mark Harris, on-trade channel director for Pernod Ricard UK, said: “Outlets have the opportunity to capitalise on a 40% uplift on premium spirits in the month leading up to Christmas but consumers are becoming more demanding and discerning when it comes to cocktail choices.
“While two thirds of consumers expect to see the classics on the menu, and we expect the Porn Star Martini to overtake the Mojito as the bestselling cocktail this year, it is important for outlets to also offer unique serves that provide an incentive for consumers to return.
“We are looking forward to working with outlets to find the perfect serves for the festive period and bring Food Glorious Food to life.”
The concept has been tested with a soft launch in Las Iguanas, which is now live.
Luke Neale, head of bar operations & beverage development for Las Iguanas, said: “We’re passionate about both food and drink at Las Iguanas and both are key to providing fantastic experiences for our guests. The Food Glorious Food project, by Pernod Ricard UK, allowed us to design and recommend drinks to perfectly match our food, enhancing the guest experience further.”