Edrington ‘Ginger Grouse’ whisky RTD spreads wings in UK


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Ginger Grouse spreads its wings across the UK in July, with launches also imminent in Africa, Spain and The Nordics (Picture Credit: Edrington)
Ginger Grouse spreads its wings across the UK in July, with launches also imminent in Africa, Spain and The Nordics (Picture Credit: Edrington)

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Edrington tells BeverageDaily.com that its new Famous Grouse whisky-based ginger beer RTD, Ginger Grouse, has beaten all its sales targets to date, as it extends its reach across the UK in July.

Johna Penman, marketing controller for Maxxium UK, which manages the 4% ABV Ginger Grouse brand, said that the Scottish launch last September had “surpassed all our business targets”​ with around 20,000 cases sold to date in on and off-trade channels.

“This is about 63% more than assessed we would,​” Penman said. “And in terms of rate of sale and distribution – we’ve exceeded these targets by about 130%, so the commercial elements have gone well.”

In the UK, Ginger Grouse will be on sale in all the major multiples nationwide by July in 500ml bottles, RRP £2.20 ($3.39), as supermarkets update stock in line with range reviews, to coincide with a TV advertising campaign, while it has also been launched in bars.

Launches are also imminent in Spain – taking advantage of British traveling there on holiday, who seek out UK-style drinks – ​Africa and The Nordics, where tastes in the latter mirror UK preferences, and Famous Grouse also corners a big market.

Taking Famous Grouse ‘where it’s never been before’

Explaining the UK launch rationale, Penman said: “I think for us Famous Grouse is the No.1 whisky brand in the UK now, it’s the No.2 spirit brand in the UK. This is very much about building our brand footprint for the future, taking it where it’s never been before.”

For many years, Famous Grouse (which dates back to 1896) was the official shirt sponsor of the Scottish rugby team, she added, “and we did a lot of Famous Grouse sampling with ginger ale in it”.

“We knew that consumers really liked it, but it wasn’t a serve that fitted the occasion. We now have a serve that fits the occasion, which is refreshment,”​ Penman said.

“So for us it’s an opportunity to bring younger drinkers into the brand, but also existing drinkers, at a time when they might choose a cider a beer, a lager, something else that’s about refreshment.”

Penman said that Edrington was “not pitching to 18 year-olds”​ with the Ginger Grouse launch. “It’s really about 25-50 year-olds, and there’s a real male-female split, because we see this as being quite ubiquitous as a taste profile and a drink,”​ she said.

Discussing competition from wine-based alcoholic ginger beers, such as the Crabbies brand, Penman said: “They’re wine based rather than whisky. So I would say that we don’t look at those as our only competitors, we think it’s a lot wider than that.

She added: “Looking at who’s buying our products right now, it’s not Crabbies drinkers who are deciding to switch. It’s people drinking beer, lager, gin and tonic – anything they would have at a time when they want a refreshing drink.”

UK trend towards nostalgia drinks

Penman said that Ginger Grouse was, “not highly masculine in the way that lagers might be for example, and it’s kind of retro as well – we find it’s bringing a huge range of people into the brand who might not have been part of the brand before.”

Asked if the bulk of Ginger Grouse sales would occur in summer, she agreed that a sales peak would occur then, due to demand for refreshment drinks at barbecues and in pub beer gardens.

“But actually the largest is at Christmas, when people are entertaining,” ​Penman added.

“It’s also suited for that first drink of the evening, when you go out and meet friends. We expect that sales will remain pretty buoyant throughout the year. We have actually got a mulled Ginger Grouse, as well, which is great.”

Given ginger beer’s traditional status in the UK – it was invented in Yorkshire in the 18th​ century – did Penman believe there was a trend towards nostalgia-style drinks in the country?

“Yes, I think it is actually. As a nation we’re very nostalgic right now, and flavour trends are following this. But we’ve gone down this route less for reasons for nostalgia, and more for where we are with Famous Grouse. For us it’s really about playing in refreshment,”​ she said.

Scottish spirits giant Edrington turned over £556.1m in 2012, and aside from Famous Grouse, other key brands include Brugal, The Macallan, Cutty Sark and Highland Park.

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