06 December 2019, 10:34 AM
  • Nikki Castley, buyer at Cress Co., on the tipples expected to be popular over the festive season
What drinks will top wish lists this Christmas?

ARE YOU EXPECTING LOW AND NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS TO BE EXTRA POPULAR THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON?
Generally we need the sun to be shining to see the volumes increase within our soft drinks category, however the festive season is a great trading period and soft drinks, especially mixers, are always in demand at this time of year. The popularity of flavoured tonics continues and with the emergence of some very interesting flavour combinations these are delicious drinks in their own right. Low-alcohol or quality alcohol substitutes have improved dramatically and although will never match their full strength equivalents are certainly giving them a good run for their money.

ANY BRANDS OR FLAVOURS PROVIDING PARTICULARLY POPULAR?
Good quality mixers are a must for the festive period, whether pairing with favourite spirits or enjoying on their own with ice, producers are continually innovating within this category. Tonic certainly seems to be at the forefront of the innovation race with new flavour profiles being introduced to the market, with Oriental Yuzu, Pink Rhubarb, Valencian Orange and even a festive Clementine Tonic Water with Cinnamon, there appears to be a flavour or indeed colour to suit all tastes. Although it would seem that gin has taken the lion’s share of the spirits market, whisky still accounts for the biggest piece of that pie. The potential is certainly there for the same level of innovation we have seen with tonics for dark spirit mixers so it’s great to see the emergence of brands such as Long Tail Mixers that are looking beyond gin.

WHAT ABOUT ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES?
No doubt gin will still be a popular tipple this Christmas but we have looked beyond the jolly juniper and have listed some interesting alternatives: Barti Spiced Rum infused with Pembrokeshire laver seaweed, Kin Vodka – a delicious blend of vodka, vanilla and toffee, Aelder Elixir Liqueur – a blend of whisky and wild elderberries, and for those festive ale drinkers, Santa’s Sledgehammer, sure to pack a jovial punch!

WHAT TRENDS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND RETAILERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON?
Don’t forget to pimp those drinks; wood-smoked fruit slices to enhance dark spirits, botanical infusion bags for gin, wild hibiscus flowers for bubbly or a bit of sparkle for those Christmas cocktails – the Cress Christmas catalogue is packed with pimp!

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