Tue Nov 21, 2017 London
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TIPPLE & FARE

Food, drink and fine diningThe comings and goings of the culinary classes

Just the tonic

Fever-Tree sells a 25% stake for £12 million

 

In recent years, the premium spirits market has boomed in both Britain and America. Drinkers have traded up and become more and more demanding in their choices. Spirits brands have seized on this trend and created what they claim to be better products and enclosed them in fancier packaging. Many, such as No. 3 gin, Sipsmith and Purity Vodka, are truly excellent but frankly a lot of it is marketing hype.

 

Accompanying the change has been a desire for a better mixer. The premise that it was illogical that a consumer buying a bottle of vodka for £50 would then mix it with cheap tonic water was the starting point that set Charles Rolls and Tim Warrilow on the road to create Fever-Tree.

 

Fever-Tree founders Charles Rolls and Tim Warrilow with their range
Fever-Tree founders Charles Rolls and Tim Warrilow with their range
Fever-Tree mixers
Fever-Tree mixers

Rolls, the man credited with successfully relaunching Plymouth Gin, and Warrilow, an advertising executive, came together eight years ago with a plan to create a new spirit brand but were quickly diverted to tonic. Of their starting point, Warrilow told The Telegraph’s Carolyn Hart:

 

“We talked briefly about gin but got on to the subject of the lack of a decent tonic water… They were all synthetic, full of preservatives. We wanted to make one that changed the status quo. After all, a G&T is three–quarters tonic. You should pay attention to the tonic”.

 

Having found the best quinine in eastern Congo, bitter orange from Tanzania and lemon from Sicily, Fever-Tree commenced production in Shepton Mallet in Somerset in 2005 and saw demand for their product boom. In time, they expanded their range to also include light lower calorie Indian tonic water, bitter lemon, ginger ale, ginger beer, club soda and lemonade.

 

From their Kings Road headquarters, the company promoted itself widely and secured success not only in top-end venues like The Ritz and Claridge’s but also deals with Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. Revenues for 2012 were £16.2 million and now Rolls and Warrilow have just sold a 25% stake in Fever-Tree for £12 million.

 

This deal with Lloyds Development Capital values the business at £48 million and Rolls and Warrilow, who will remain at the helm, intend to use the funds raised to expand their presence in not only the UK but also in America and Spain, which is, of course, one of the world’s largest gin markets.

 

This is just the tonic that the British economy needs right now. Our congratulations to Messrs Rolls and Warrilow.

 

For more information about Fever-Tree, go to: http://www.fever-tree.com

 

Follow Fever-Tree on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/FeverTreeMixers

Comments

17 comments on “Just the tonic”

  1. Shame the banks don’t support more initiatives, HSBC would not help get my Brummell’s Gin concept the backing, one of their Commercial Managers said there was no future in Gin in the UK…. That is a clear imdication their retail managers don’t have a clue. Not a listening bank or one with local knowledge.

  2. Very interesting. I really like gin and tonics, although I rarely pay premium for gin, so I’m unlikely to pay premium for tonic, although I could see doing it for special occasions.

    Also, we use SodaStream to carbonate our seltzer and we’ve often made tonic water that way. If Fever-tree sold an extract that could be used with SodaStream, we might be more likely to try it.

  3. I honestly had no idea that a premium tonic water was available but now I must have it. The stuff I can find in any store is simply trash. In my area, Coke actually has a decent Tonic they distribute to the bars for on premise only. I drive about a 50 mile round trip to get my tonic now and I wanted to comment and now I will try to find if I can get this in the US or what is necessary to land some.

    I am not an overly fancy drinker but I like what I like. Tanqueray is my everyday drinker and I stock Hendricks as well but that is my on the rocks choice. Glad to find this.

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