Often in business we focus on the main product which if you take gin and tonic would be the gin. However the following story demonstrates the rise of the mixer.
When Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow decided to set up a business together it was the first time they had ever met.
This was back in 2003, and Mr Warrillow – at the time a 28-year-old advertising executive – was looking for a complete career change. He wanted to set up his own gin distillery.
And so he contacted Mr Rolls, a veteran of the gin industry, and 18 years his senior, for advice.
Mr Rolls, who had successfully grown Plymouth Gin, agreed to meet for a coffee in central London. Within an hour or two they had decided to become business partners. But instead of forming a new gin company, they resolved to set up a premium tonic water brand.
Mr Rolls, 57, recalls their first meeting: “The conversation quickly turned from gin to tonic water, and the fact that while there had been a huge increase in the number of premium gins, when it came to the tonic water you added to them, you essentially only had two choices – the market leader [Schweppes], or supermarket own brands.
- The first choice they made was not to use artificial sweeteners and use all natural ingredients.
- They launched the tonic like a premium spirit company, they pounded the streets to all the exclusive high end hotels to get stocked in the bars
- Big break came from a phone call from Waitrose who wanted to stock Fever Tree
The decision to focus on the mixer not the spirit has created a new brand that actually has more business growth than the spirit.
Fever Tree has also introduced reduced calorie – but still all natural – tonic water, ginger beer, and lemonade. All are produced for it under contract by a company in the south west of England.
Fever-Tree now sells 65 million bottles per year across its range, and employs 70 people.
We often just look at our business with linear thinking, just think what the mixer is in your business and stop focusing on the spirit.
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