Pernod Ricard using flavoured gins to ‘recruit’ people into wider category

People that have been exposed to Beefeater Pink are much more favourably disposed to the core product, says the drinks giant.

Pernod Ricard says its flavoured Beefeater gins are doing a “good recruitment job” for the wider category, especially among younger consumers who are new to gin and looking for something a little less gin-y than the core London Dry product.

“What we do know is people that have been exposed to, or who are aware of, Beefeater Pink Strawberry – and we’ve done this research in a number of markets – are much more favourably disposed then to Beefeater Dry, so we do see that conversion taking place,” Pernod Ricard’s managing director of its Gin Hub, Louise Ryan, said at its results event this morning (27 February).

“How that pans out in the longer term remains to be seen, but certainly to date we are seeing flavoured gin recruiting consumers and then migrating them and trying not just flavoured gin, but also Beefeater London Dry. So it’s doing a good recruitment job for the wider category.”

The Beefeater portfolio, which also includes Blood Orange and Blackberry, grew 12% in the first half of the 2019/2020 financial year

While Pernod Ricard sees a lot more potential growth for Beefeater Pink, which is now in more than 50 markets, the rate of sales of Beefeater Blood Orange is higher than Pink, which bodes well for Pernod Ricard as it gears up to roll the flavour out to more markets during the second half of the year.

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“Because of the accessible taste profile, [flavoured gin] is definitely indexing with a slightly younger demographic than the Beefeater heartland,” Ryan said.

“That’s very good for the brand and works well in a market like the UK where we’re dialling up its modernity and making it more relevant. To be building relevance among a younger consumer base is very positive for the future.”

Pernod Ricard rolled out a ready-to-drink Beefeater Dry and Strawberry in a number of markets last month. This is a category Pernod Ricard is looking to expand in, especially with soda, which is becoming increasingly popular as a mixer in markets such as the US and Japan.

Because of the accessible taste profile, [flavoured gin] is definitely indexing with a slightly younger demographic.

Louise Ryan, Pernod Ricard

“Ready-to-drink is definitely an opportunity and you will see a lot more from us on that front,” Ryan added.

“We’re working on something in the background that we think will be perfectly complimented by soda. Innovation is a key driver of growth in spirits in general, but gin in particular, so it’s going to be very important that we continue to be innovative and offer consumers more choice.”

Pernod Ricard’s overall portfolio, which includes Absolut, Jameson and Monkey 47, reported a 5.6% year on year increase in sales during the first half of the 2019/2020 financial year, closing in on €5.5bn (£4.7bn)

The business continues to pledge ambitious sustainability plans. By 2022 Pernod Ricard hopes to operate the first carbon neutral distillery, have all of its packaging made from sustainably sourced materials and have 100% eco-friendly point-of-sale ranges.

It claims to have reduced its greenhouse gases and carbon emissions by a third over the last decade and says it will reduce these by a further 20% by 2032.

However, Pernod Ricard is finding it much harder to close the sustainability loop. CEO Alexandre Ricard says this is something they are working on and would like to improve, but the supply chain, route to market and route to the consumer are “quite different”, and therefore it is not an easy job.