16 May 2023, 07:51 AM
  • Think innovative, delicious and versatile to satisfy your customers’ thirst for new this summer
How to curate a summer drinks offering in 2023

Picture the scene: you’re in a back garden in summer, with the smell of freshly-mown grass mingling with the aromas of barbecues, herb-flecked salads and sun cream. But something’s missing, right?

Correct – no summer’s day is complete without a few good glugs of a refreshing, potentially sparkling, beverage to celebrate the season’s bounty and (hopefully) glorious sunshine. Thankfully, nature delivers on the flavour front every year, meaning that there are plenty of summer-suitable drinks ready to be snapped up and enjoyed by thirsty shoppers.

Best of British
As retailers and consumers alike warm up to what’s sure to be a showstopper of a summer thanks to the coronation of King Charles III, ‘best of British’ is on the menu for many. Not only Luscombe, the multi-award-winning Devon-based producer of luxury soft drinks since 1975, not to mention Royal Warrant-holder, released a special edition sparkler to celebrate the occasion – Rose & Cherry Bubbly – but their range has long been a favourite with shoppers seeking finely crafted refreshment.

“Whether it’s a picnic at the beach, barbecue with friends or sunset suppers in the garden, Luscombe’s range of soft drinks, juices, crushes, ginger beers, bubblies and tonics are the very essence of summer – I always think that every occasion is elevated with a Luscombe to accompany you,” begins Paul Stevenson, director at Luscombe.

With a range encompassing fruit juices, crushes, bubbles, ginger beers and tonic waters, at Luscombe there’s something to suit everyone at a seasonal gathering – from children fancying sweet refreshment to adults craving a spirit brought to life with a top-notch mixer. Ultimately, it all comes down to quality; a matter of paramount importance to independent retailers and their customers.

“Everything centres around exceptional taste and being absolutely true and honest in sourcing and respecting the finest ingredients, and not adding any nasty chemicals. The ingredients we use make us stand out from the very beginning – because we start with the best, it makes sense that with our unique, small-batch, production methods and blending skill, we end up with the best products.”

The business’s reputation has thrived on this attention to detail. “Founder and owner of Luscombe, Gabriel David, has become renowned for his pursuit of perfection and no-compromise approach to creating our sophisticated range of drinks – and the team at Luscombe are all advocates of his vision,” explains Paul. “Gabriel takes great pride in the fact that all of Luscombe’s drinks are made from the very finest, gently pressed organic ingredients, creating great tasting, premium drinks.”

Mix it up
As the appetite for personalisation grows across all sectors of the British marketplace, it can seem a daunting task to cater to every customer’s whim. Thankfully, there’s a whole host of refreshing mixers on the market to help satisfy demand. According to studies by Grand View Research, the cocktail industry is now a billion-pound industry seeing 13.9% growth year-on-year, and with mixers playing a vital role in the DIY cocktails-at-home movement we saw a boom during the Covid-19 lockdowns, they’re well worth doing right.

Let’s Mix! is a new player on the scene, offering a unique combination of convenience, personalisation and classic flavours. According to co-founder and sales director Alex Bath, who runs the business with his brother, the thirst is only getting stronger for personalisation and ease of use.

“Versatility is extremely important in modern society, due to the fact we live in an increasingly consumerist culture (we have social media to thank for that). People are always looking for a new thing or a new interesting way of doing things. Our products are versatile by their very nature, they are a mixer meaning we are providing one part of the cocktail equation.”

Despite the Let’s Mix! range covering all classic cocktail bases – margarita, sours, porn star martini, garden martini, cosmopolitan and a range of fruity daiquiris – the alcohol isn’t built-in; drinkers can choose whether to add a non-alcoholic soda or spirit to their own drinks.

“Due to the fact we leave the addition of alcohol to the consumer, they are allowed to choose their favourite brand of Tequila to mix their Margs, or they can add non-alcoholic alcohol to make mocktails with it. They can shake the mango daiquiri with basil, serve their Garden Martini long, with ice and soda, the possibilities are endless.”

Innovation on-the-go
The canned drink format is already well-known and loved in the fine drink sphere, and it’s not for nothing that quality counterparts to conventional canned soft drinks are relishing their time in the spotlight – convenient and delicious, easily recyclable and enjoyed by all ages, they tick a lot of boxes for summer-sipping occasions.

Innovation is rife, too, much to the delight of adventurous foodies. For example, Broadland Drinks has recently introduced its new product Twistea: a semi-sparkling, flavoured alcoholic tea. “It is very popular in the US but still new to the growing RTD category in the UK. In fact, we like to think we are putting the ‘tea’ into RTD, offering something unique to a category that can lack differentiation,” begins Nicola Cannon, senior brand manager at Broadland Drinks.

“And of course, with its convenient format, fun design, and being vegan, gluten-free, low in sugar and less than 90 calories per can, it also meets those key consumer purchase drivers as well.”

Despite its reputation for being packed full of overly-sweetened, high-sugar drinks, there is sizeable consumer demand for the RTD category to offer something more attuned to mature palates.

“Our research highlighted growing consumer demand for a more mature, bitter flavour profile, and we worked hard to find the right flavour combinations to complement our tea base. Using tea leaves from a small family run plantation in Malawi, our tea is cold brewed over 24 hours then fused with 100% natural, grown-up fruity flavours.

“The result is a great tasting alcoholic tea with a twist that, perhaps unsurprisingly, appeals most to tea lovers and consumers who already drink iced tea or fruit, herbal or speciality tea blends.”