Ginking: Consumers are looking for better quality RTDs

Creator of English pre-mixed drink brand Ginking, John Worontschak, believes consumers are searching for better quality ready-to-drink products and are willing to pay more for the privilege.

John Worontschak with his wife, Dr Ruth Hillary

Speaking to the drinks business, Worontschak said that price of Ginking (£13.99 for the original variant which includes English wine) hadn’t proved a barrier.

“On the contrary actually”, he said. “I think people are looking for better quality alternatives, which is in keeping with the ‘drinking less but better’ trend. Ginking is hitting the sweet spot.”

The pre-mixed drink brand, which combines gin, wine, water and different botanicals, has now released a number of different expressions including Botanica Italia (Glera-based wine, London Dry Gin, clove, bitter orange, angostura bark and gentian root) and Mediterranean (Spanish wine, gin, orange, thyme, rosemary and pine).

“We’re hitting the sub £10 for the Italia and the Mediterranean. People can have it as a treat, it’s not an everyday product but it’s not price inhibitive either”, said Worontschak.

Worontschak said that the idea behind the product came when his wife couldn’t decide between a G&T or a glass of English fizz.

“We’re really been following three main trends: gin has been going crazy, English sparkling has been going crazy and the lower alcohol movement is developing”, said Worontschak, noting that all products within the Ginking range are bottled at 8.5% ABV.

Ginking, which is owned by Litmus Wines in Surrey, was launched in 2016. Since then, others have replicated the concept, including most recently Treasury Wine Estate’s Blossom Hill with its Gin Fizz. 

“I think it’s a good thing that people are copying us and are increasing knowledge of the product category”, said Worontschak. “We’re at the premium end and what we make is very much a grown-up’s drink. It’s not sweet or sickly like a cordial.

“The ingredients we use are also bloody expensive – angostura bark in particular. For the rosé variant we made, we used real rose petals which added to the cost.”

A number of future products in the pipeline include the launch of a South African variant, as well as a potential canned version of the Mediterranean and Botanica Italia expressions.

“We are about to embark on a promotional tour; we basically need to get the product into people’s mouths”, said Worontschak. The company is currently firming up a strategy through which to target both the on- and off-trade in order to boost sales. It is also looking further afield to overseas markets in order to select the appropriate countries where the product would perform well.

In the UK, Ginking is sold in Tesco, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer as well as through specialist retailers such as Fortnum & Mason. The company has some distribution in the US and Germany.

Sales this year will be between 500,000 to 1 million units, according to Worontschak, who said the business was looking to “build that up quite rapidly”.

“We have the facilities to upscale to as many million bottles as we want”, he said, adding, however, that production of the original English variant would remain limited owing to the volume of English wine available.

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