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UK on-trade must ‘do more’ to support local brands

Research has shown that despite a boom in regional and small batch brands, three gin manufacturers dominate the UK on-trade.

Brighton venues are more likely to offer gins from local producers

Market research, conducted by data collection service Shepper, has revealed that the UK’s on-trade and hospitality outlets prefer to serve leading brands of gin and tonic as their house products, instead of supporting local and small batch counterparts.

Lindsay Forster, CEO of Shepper, commented: “The data shows that the more well-known household names are preferred, but the local small batch providers are making a marginal breakthrough. However, the hospitality industry can do more to support the smaller, lesser known brands, as gin lovers are typically open to trying different types of gins, tonics and garnishes.”

The data is based on a sample of 1,000 independent free-trade sites, alongside some regionally and nationally managed pub and bar groups.

The research found that 148 different types of gin were served across the sampled venues, with only one in 10 being a regional or small batch brand.

The most common gins served were Beefeater (22%) and Tanqueray (18%), with Bombay Sapphire and Gordons representing 10%.

The data also revealed that while Tanqueray was the most preferred gin in London, Beefeater was served the most in the North West and Greater London.

The East of England and the West Midlands were found to be more likely to serve niche gins. In Scotland and Brighton, researchers found they were more likely to be offered local and small batch gins, with 15% receiving an alternative to a bigger household name.

The research also found that venues are also more likely to favour mainstream mixer brands over independent producers.

Fever Tree was found to be the most customary tonic on offer, with 53% of outlets serving the mixer. Schweppes was found to be the second most popular tonic served, taking 15% of the market share.

In the midlands, Franklin & Sons was found to be more popular, which was attributed to the proximity of the brand’s headquarters.

The divide between the industry leaders and independent brands in the tonic sector is ‘significantly larger’ and demonstrates a ‘greater difficulty’ for smaller brands to break through.

Last week CGA data found that consumers are more likely to order cocktails that list the brand used to make them.

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