Expanding Horizons An interview with Fever-Tree CEO, Tim Warrillow

Fever-Tree’s range of premium mixers have recently entered the SA market. The company saw that the same trends that drove the Gin and Tonic revolution in the United Kingdom were beginning to emerge in South Africa.

“Premium Gin has grown extraordinarily here in South Africa with the emergence of an abundance of craft and local gin brands, and we’re already seeing some great opportunities for co-promotional activity. Last year we partnered with a number of brands on collaborative experiences and we’ve already listed in key retailers such as Pick ‘n Pay, Spar, Shoprite Checkers and Woolworths. We’re very excited about the opportunity across the whole region”, says Fever-Tree CEO Tim Warrillow.

Fever-Tree drove margin back into the forgotten mixer category, enabling bars and restaurants to deliver great mixed drinks simply, quickly and consistently by just using a premium spirit, high-quality mixer and a garnish. And where consumers historically shied away from creating complicated cocktails, these great tasting, long mixed drinks can now be effortlessly recreated at home, so Fever-Tree has helped to make spirits more accessible to a new generation of drinkers. Warrillow continues, “We’re seeing that consumers are turning away from drinking spirits neat or on ice – this is no longer compatible with modern lifestyles or the focus on health and well-being. There’s a huge shift towards simple drinks with high-quality components.”

Fever-Tree entered the market with one simple premise: If three quarters of your drink is the mixer, use the best. “It was all about putting quality back into the mixer category, nowhere more so than the ingredients themselves, and this resulted in a very different approach to product development”, explains Warrillow, “We went back into the history books to find the most authentic and highest quality ingredients we could and then went out into the field to track them down. We travelled the globe meeting and spending time with specialist producers and experts to create our products, from the Democratic Republic of Congo where we source our quinine to the Ivory Coast for fresh green ginger.”

Fever-Tree’s entry into SA meets an increasing demand for premium tonics in the market. Warrillow adds, “We’d seen the huge growth of premium gin in the UK and we believed that people would be prepared to pay for quality. The trends that we identified at the outset are only accelerating. We’ve seen that quality has broad appeal.”

With a focus on providing the perfect pairing to spirits, Fever-Tree keeps up with changing trends as more premium spirits emerge. Warrillow concludes, “Fever-Tree was built on innovation and whilst G&T consumption is still in strong long-term global growth, what’s exciting is the spirits category is not just about gin and the mixer category is not just about tonic. We’re developing new mixers, new flavours, new ideas and in doing so, creating an array of flavours to pair with the myriad of premium spirits.”

The Fever-Tree selection of tonics available in South Africa includes Indian Tonic Water, Mediterranean Tonic Water, Refreshingly Light Tonic Water, Elderflower Tonic Water and Aromatic Tonic Water.

Fever-Tree has been voted Drinks International 2019 Top Selling and Top Trending tonic water (for the fifth year in a row), as voted by the world’s top bars and restaurants.

For more information on Fever-Tree, please visit www.fever-tree.com. To connect with Fever-Tree South Africa visit us on Facebook/FeverTreeZA.

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