Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC MayJune 2015 Contents Using a premium mixer when creating mixed drinks and
cocktails should be a bit of a no brainer really -- any
drink is only as good as the quality of its individual
parts. Or as Thor Bergquist, bartender and soda enthusiast,
points out, the whole thing is going to fall apart.
"My business partner, Michael Chiem, has the best quote
for this and I always use it -- he says you don't make your own
fresh pasta, use fresh basil and grandma's pasta sauce to
then cook your pasta in dirty seawater," he says.
Thankfully, it's a message that seems to be cutting
through the background noise, with the proliferation of
brands in the craft and premium sectors introducing new
flavours, and pushing the stalwarts to keep on top of their
game -- it's a win-win for everyone, including consumers.
Bergquist is front and centre of the new wave of mixers.
Not only has he been bartending for 12 years, but he and
business partner, Chiem, have started a tiny mixer company
of their own -- kicking off their venture, Pop Soda, by creating
a specialist tonic syrup for new distillery on the block,
Archie Rose. But it wouldn't have been possible without the
groundwork being laid by other premium brands, leading
to an ever incresing range of new flavours and expanded
"I think people have really started ordering tonics and
mixers by brand as opposed to asking for a tonic, or a ginger,
or a cola," he says. "And it's expanded from that,
people are really getting on board with different
styles of mixers."
With the growing customer-driven trend
for provenance, it is no surprise that the mixers
market has been caught up in the push, along with
spirits, beer, food, coffee, and basically everything
Australians consume. Tony Burt, the co-founder
of East Imperial, believes premium mixers are
required to enhance, rather than overpower the
spirit in a drink.
"The emerging trend of greater focus on
heritage, provenance and locally sourced
ingredients has influenced the growth in
premium mixers," he says. "Along with this
trend is the use of locally sourced botanicals
in spirits and mixers that is creating more
choices and segmentation along the
Angela Barnett, marketing and
storytelling at Karma Cola, concurs, adding
that health concerns are becoming more
apparent among savvy consumers.
"Premium as a category has grown
exponentially as customers care more about
what they put into their bodies -- even with
booze," she says.
That means more people are asking
questions about how things are made and
they are prepared to pay more for premium
products. However, there is more to consider
than just where your product ingredients
are coming from. As Lewis Kneale, of
Little Drippa, points out, bartenders need
to be concerned with
the consistency of all of
the products going into
"Especially when you are
dealing with an experiencecd
bar manager creating
an amazing cocktail, it is
important that the correct
mixer is used to give
consistency when all of the
other staff in that venue
make that cocktail," he says.
"There is no point in having
the most amazing and
complex cocktail on the list
if only one person on your
team can make it."
And, according to
Matthew Burr, senior
category manager for
Schweppes, your customers
are going to notice, and it
will ultimately affect their
opinion of your venue.
"When the consumer is
paying a premium price for
their drink, they have an
expectation that the quality
will flow right through all
of the ingredients," he says.
"Today's consumer is savvy
-- they know more about the
things they like and want,
and have a real desire to
And at the end of the day,
better quality sells better,
says Tomas Vikario, beverage
innovation manager with
Monin and Perrier.
"Bars around the country
are proud of their range of
premium whisky, tequila,
mezcal or even craft beers
lately, so I don't see any
reason why premium mixers
should be left out," he says.
"They have to understand
that good mixers will help
them to sell more of the
INVEST IN YOUR
While it may seem like an
obvious point to make,
investing in mixers in the
same way that you would
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