Schweppes to ‘reinvigorate’ European bar presence
Mixer producer Schweppes has teamed up with four bartenders, including Chelsie Bailey and Max Venning, to lead its new brand ambassador programme in Europe.
Owned by The Coca-Cola Company, Schweppes said the new year-long advocacy programme aims to show its commitment to the bar industry in Europe by building and supporting a community of bartenders in the region.
The carbonated mixer brand has partnered with Iain McPherson, founder of the new Edinburgh Bar Show and local bar Panda & Sons; Venning of London bars Three Sheets and Little Mercies; Bailey of London’s Happiness Forgets; and Vasilis Kyritsis of Athens venues The Clumsies and Line.
McPherson has been appointed lead education strategist and will be responsible for developing the Schweppes education programme, which will be activated across markets in 2024.
Meanwhile, Venning will hold the same position in the UK, and will manage the brand’s ‘reinvigorated’ drinks strategy and 2024 serves. He will also educate and lead the mixer’s UK brand ambassador team.
Bailey and Kyritsis will become lead activation strategists for mainland Europe. They will be responsible for the direction and education of Schweppes brand ambassadors across the region.
Venning explained: “The drinks we’ve created have been designed to engage bartenders across every level of bar and take inspiration from Schweppes’ deep history within the mixer space.”
Additional industry talent will join the four bartenders, with names to be revealed in the coming months.
The new team will also be supported by existing brand ambassadors, including Greece’s Mary Talaiporou, Ireland’s Michelle MacGuinness and Bulgaria’s Dimitar Petrovski.
McPherson said: “I’m bubbling with excitement to be collaborating with Schweppes to bring an interactive advocacy programme to the global on-trade.
“Schweppes is the standard in soft drinks and as a brand is steeped in unrivalled, innovative history. I can’t wait to share that knowledge with bartenders and give them a solid understanding on carbonation.”
The new programme will focus on the themes of heritage, carbonation and balance.
Michael Willeke, vice-president marketing IMX Europe at The Coca-Cola Company, commented: “2024 is an incredibly exciting year for us as we announce Schweppes’ bold, new, bartender-first ambassador programme, supported by some of the most celebrated names within the industry.
“It’s a partnership like no other, and the potential to engage and educate the bartending community across Europe is significant.”
The programme will host activations across core markets including Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and the UK.
This is not the first time Coca-Cola has worked with bartenders in the mixer category. Venning was among one of four bartenders to create Coca-Cola’s Signature series of mixers for dark spirits. The range has since been discontinued.
In other news, Schweppes’ biggest competitor, UK-based Fever-Tree, recently saw the US become its biggest market after total sales rose by 6% last year.