Pernod Ricard: Flavoured gin plays ‘strategic’ role in recruiting drinkers

28th February, 2020 by Amy Hopkins

French drinks group Pernod Ricard is taking a “considerate” approach to gin innovation as some flavours fall out of fashion and the battle for supermarket shelf space gets tougher.

Pernod Ricard launched Beefeater Pink in 2018

The French firm’s international gin portfolio – comprising Beefeater, Plymouth and Monkey 47 – increased global sales by 12% in H1 2020.

Louise Ryan, managing director of Pernod Ricard’s Gin Hub, said: “If you dial down into this, we are seeing all three of these brands in year-on-year growth during H1.

“[The] growth is very diversified but most importantly we are gaining share, not just in mature gin markets like the UK, but [also] in emerging gin markets and all across the globe – so Brazil, Mexico, Peru [are] all doing very well.”

Ryan added that South Africa is “another important market” for Pernod Ricard’s gin stable, while Beefeater is the “number-one gin brand in Asia”.

The group has ramped up flavour innovation in its portfolio in recent years, starting with the launch of Beefeater London Pink in 2018. This was followed by Beefeater Blood Orange and Beefeater Blackberry.

While flavoured gins are proving hugely popular, particularly in developed gin markets such as the UK, analysts have questioned whether a proliferation of flavours could lead to a downturn for the broader category.

According to Ryan, Pernod Ricard has a “very considerate” approach to flavour innovation, which has been a useful way to recruit consumers into gin.

She said: “Do I see us having every colour [of gin] in the rainbow? Certainly not. But if you look at flavours, particularly on Beefeater, they play a very important role in recruiting consumers into the gin category, so in that respect flavours have a strategic role to play.

“If you’re consuming spirits for the first time, gin and tonic is not necessarily the most accessible entry point – it’s quite an acquired taste, a little more sophisticated, which makes it aspirational.”

She added that in Beefeater’s portfolio, its core London Dry expression is driving growth “in almost equal measure” to flavours, while there is a “conversion” taking place as consumers move from flavours to London Dry.

David Haworth, managing director of Pernod Ricard UK, also noted that the UK market is set to experience a shake out as “some flavours fall out [and] other flavours fall in”.

He said that while flavour innovation will continue, “the question for gin is the amount of shelf space it gets generally and how sustainable that all is”.

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