What’s the winning formula?


NICK GILLETT, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT PREMIUM DRINKS DISTRIBUTOR, MANGROVE UK, TALKS ABOUT WHAT MAKES A BRAND STAND OUT IN THE DRINKS INDUSTRY AND SUCCEED OVER OTHERS.

“Anyone who works in a bar, from the bartender to the owner, has my undying respect.”

We are a fast moving and responsive industry. We have innovators, makers, original thinkers and wizards in our midst.  Everyone has their eye out for the next big trend and the brands which will revolutionise how things are done. But what makes a brand stand out, accelerates their success and outlasts their competitors? What is the winning formula?  

For me, everything starts with the liquid. It is going to be consumed and enjoyed, so this has to be bang on. It needs to be good enough to compete with other brands in the category and be markedly different from them, as the market place is too crowded for “me-too” brands. 

Dominic Hawksworth from the Prezzo Group explains more: “When looking at new drinks brands, the quality of the products that they produce is always paramount. Beyond this, I always look for brands that are willing to support both myself and our teams with training during a launch and then to continue working with us to engage with our customers and bartenders.” 

It’s vital to get out on the road and engage and educate bar staff, seeding a brand. Through prioritising education, brands can showcase their versatility, seasonality and work in partnership with bars to give them what they need to champion the liquid to customers.  A new wave of people have entered the hospitality industry and it’s vital that they get the education they need in order to do their job well. 

Matt Neal from Uncle Nearest says: “For a company like ours which is narrative based, our mission statement is to tell the world of one person’s legacy forgotten with the passing of time. Bartenders are essential to that goal. Anyone who works in a bar, from the bartender to the owner, has my undying respect; anything a brand and the people involved with it can do to give back is a massive part of keeping this industry alive.”

Our industry is one of non-essential goods (some might disagree with me there!), but our products are luxuries and need to stand-out and look good on the shelf and behind the bar. The UK is facing a cost of living crisis: consumer engagement and reasons to purchase have become ever more important for brands as premium spirits will become a considered choice.  It has never been more important for a brand to recruit consumers and brand advocates, and it should be an important part of a brand’s long term strategy in order to secure new brands to the market.  

Today’s consumers ask questions; there are so many avenues and opportunities for them to delve deeper into a brand story and to evaluate a brand. This is bad news for brands who “green wash” and don’t look after their staff, but very good news for those brands who have made a commitment to their values and put that at the core of their business. Trust generates loyalty which, in these unsettled times, is golden.

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