Case Study: Fever-Tree Premium Natural Mixers – finalist for the Grocer Gold Awards Exporter of the Year


Since 2005 FEVER-TREE have established themselves as the drinks mixers specialists globally, pioneering a new premium mixer category and restoring taste and quality to the forgotten mixer.

Export success story

  • Transformed the drinks industry globally
  • Now available in over 38 countries in 5 continents (Europe, Asia, Americas, Australia, Africa)
  • Listed as the 32nd fastest growing export company (Times FastTrack100)
  • Received top awards around the world – Drinks Company of the Year 2011 (Drinks Business Awards), ‘Best Product’ at Gastronomic Awards in Spain and US (NASFT sofi Awards and Tales of the Cocktail) etc.
  • Served in 7 of the world’s top 10 restaurants (Restaurant Magazine 2012)
  • Experiencing international sales growth of 100% (2011 v 2012) with no sign of slowing in 2013. Total company turnover for 2011 was £12m (2012 accounts not yet officially released)
  • International sales now account for 70% of total brand sales (despite fantastic growth in UK market)

The idea behind the brand was driven by the question: why choose a premium spirit and then compromise the experience with a poor quality mixer, after all 3/4 of the long drink is the mixer. In stark contrast to the category which had been neglected and commoditised by conglomerate owners, more concerned with cost cutting than quality; FEVER-TREE pioneered a new premium mixer drink category restoring taste and quality once more.

For co-founders, Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow, creating the prefect drinks mixer range has meant a series of plant hunting trips to some of the most remote and hostile regions of the world to seek out the very best quality ingredients produced by small specialist farmers. For their first product, an Indian Tonic Water, sourcing the purest strain of quinine, the essential bitterness in tonic water was a top priority. Tim traced one of the last remaining plantations of Cinchona Ledgeriana trees (whose bark produced the world’s highest quality quinine) to the Eastern Congo. Visiting the region he was amazed to find such a thriving plantation amid an area otherwise decimated by years of war. By blending this pure quinine with subtle botanical flavours, spring water and natural cane sugar, Fever-Tree Tonic water is a natural tasting tonic with subtle citrus notes and a uniquely refreshing taste. Unlike mainstream mixers, Fever-Tree do not use any artificial sweeteners, preservatives or flavours in any of their drinks.

Having developed such a high quality product, it was not long before countries across the globe were inundating FEVER-TREE with requests for stock. FEVER-TREE is now stocked in flagship hotels, restaurants, bars and premium retail outlets in over 38 markets. It seems the belief that a premium spirit is best complemented by a premium mixer is recognised the world over.

Spain was the second market FEVER-TREE was launched into and it has since undergone a Gin and Tonic boom, driven in part by the arrival of FEVER-TREE. The Spanish growth has been rapid and FEVER-TREE is now synonymous with the favoured Gin and Tonic. FEVER-TREE tonic water was even featured as a sorbet in the tasting menu at the world famous El Bulli which was awarded the title of World’s Best Restaurant in 2006 and retained this title in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Other countries have been steadily added to the export market list. The global expansion strategy of the brand is simple, to follow the growth of premium spirits. Fever-Tree have developed a highly successful distributor export business model and have forged strong partnerships with their distributors. Focusing on communication, sharing best practice and helping to accelerate growth by implementing sales and marketing plans is key to FEVER-TREE’s international growth.

Finally, FEVER-TREE have created a mixer to stand tall against the numerous premium whiskies, gins and vodkas launching onto the global drinks scene. In truth, there are few limits to the brands global growth, where there are spirits there are mixers, and as we continue to discover, in most markets the mixers available are full of artificial flavours, preservatives and sweeteners and mask the distinct flavours of premium spirits.

For further information

Sectors: Beverages & Alcoholic Drinks and Food & Drink
Export Action Plan