Premium gins at the right price

Retailers across the country are continuing to cash in on the boom in premium gin. Even through national coronavirus lockdowns, gin remained the fastest-growing spirits sector in independent convenience stores, growing at 12.1% this year.

This explosion in gin is now firmly recognised by retailers, with 71% of store owners reporting that gin sales are in growth in their store. “As more customers are entertaining at home, there is a good opportunity for gin sales,” says Kamal Thaker, of Stop Shop News in London.

“We want to add more variants to our range.” The retailers who are seeing the biggest success are cashing in on shoppers’ thirst for discovery, with 54% of stores saying they review their range more frequently than every six months.

Pricewatch: spirits price comparison

Seventy-four per cent of retailers report their shoppers are spending more on gin than they were last year, which may open the door to them offering more expensive products and cashing in on the premium end of the market.

However, this is not without its challenges. Forty-five per cent of retailers say they struggle selling gin when priced above £20, with the number-one challenge in selling gin reported by retailers being “my competition is cheaper”.

Despite evidence that shoppers are happy to spend more on drinks when in pubs and bars, retailers are not seeing this behaviour mimicked in their stores.

How is Beefeater responding?

Pernod Ricard UK is rolling out £16.99 price-marked packs (PMP) for its Beefeater brand, available in its London Dry, Pink Strawberry and Blood Orange varieties. The brand is growing at 99.5%, with Pink Strawberry the fastest-growing flavoured gin of the top five brands and Blood Orange the second-biggest contributor to year-on-year sales growth.

Beefeater London dry gin PMP

In Newtrade Insight’s survey, 55% of retailers stated Beefeater is a brand that is always on their shelves. While 11% of stores said they had never bought it, only 3% of retailers said they used to stock it but have delisted it, indicating that when retailers do try it, it sells enough to earn its space.

Pricewatch: vodka price comparison

PMPs are high on retailers’ agendas when it comes to their strategies for winning big with gin next year. Sixty-three per cent of store owners are planning to stock more pricemarked gins in future to ensure their shoppers know they are getting a fair price.

“Variety and availability is key in selling gin,” says Vasanti Jesani, owner of Select Convenience in Atherton, Greater Manchester. “But we definitely need to create more offers and offer more price-marked products.”

Winning with displays and new products

Retailers report Christmas, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are the three biggest seasonal opportunities for selling gin, with themed displays featuring premium gin central to driving success at these times.

“We see a big opportunity in creating bigger displays with free-standing display units and using them to upsell alongside chocolate during seasonal occasions like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day,” says Sanjiv Kumar, of Olive Store in West Midlands.

These displays tend to work best when focused around an exclusive offer or, better still, a new product. “New flavours always sell well when first released. Especially if we can get them in before competitors,” says Michael Turner, of Commercial Store in Nottingham.

When asked ‘what help do retailers need from suppliers?’, the top answer was ‘better access to gins not stocked by the supermarkets’ at 51%, even more popular than ‘access to more suitable PoS’ and ‘more support with cross-promotions and offers’, which came in at second and third, respectively.

Are you looking to make more money from gin? Contact Mark Connaire, senior brand manager for Beefeater at Pernod Ricard UK: Mark.Connaire@pernod-ricard.com

Pricewatch: gin price comparison