Fever-Tree Canada branches out its sampling

The premium mixer brand partners with a premium hotel for a dining experience to drive more awareness in Canada.

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Premium mixer brand Fever-Tree is looking to drive trial by giving guests a unique dining experience inside a heated dome outside the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

Fever-Tree was founded in the U.K. in 2004 and has been expanding internationally for the better part of the last decade. But according to Alexis Green, Fever-Tree Canada’s national brand engagement manager, the biggest challenge in the Canadian market is low awareness.

At the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, a domed dining event will includes cocktails and a curated menu, began in December and goes to April. Though British Columbia is currently experiencing a rolling average of 479 new COVID-19 cases daily, that is down slightly from the average seen following the holidays, and the province is not under the same lockdown measures recently re-imposed on other provinces. Green adds that the activation also fits with Fairmont’s rigorous safety protocols, with small groups dining in their social bubbles in an indoor/outdoor experience.

The pair-up with the Accor-owned hotel is a natural fit, Green says, as Fairmont is an elevated, elegant brand that resonates with Fever-Tree’s core target of the 35-plus set, split evenly between men and women, that also aligns well with the hotel’s demographics. It also ran an Instagram contest to amplify the experience, a three-night stay at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler with flexible booking times to reflect pandemic uncertainty.

“One of the challenges for 2020 and still in 2021, is not being able to interact face-to-face with consumers in what we like to call ‘liquid to lips,’” according to Green. In addition to meeting the challenge of sampling during a pandemic, the dome experience is also a less conventional way to expose people to the product, compared to its usual “gift with purchase” initiatives with the LCBO and SAQ, or partnerships with leading distillers.

Everybody who books a meal in the dome receives a holiday cracker, containing a can of the brand’s Indian tonic water. Guests will also receive cocktails featuring the Indian tonic water cocktail experience, as well as ones with its ginger beer, ginger ale and sparkling Sicilian lemonade.

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To boost the events, the brand is doing promo on Instagram, PR packages, event information in-room and on screens in the hotel, through Open Table and in the hotel’s Mallard Lounge.

Interest in the brand began to rise pre-pandemic, Green says, and it’s going after people who want to treat themselves to premium, but without necessarily breaking the bank.

For Fever-Tree, the competitive landscape is threefold: Schweppes and Great Jamaican for ginger beer, mainstream mixers like Schweppes and Canada Dry, and premium mixer brands like 1642, Boylans, and Fentimins.

In terms of differentiation, Green says it’s typically one of being non-GMO, its carbonation levels that are good for a year and using naturally sourced ingredients. Green says the packaging is also a way to stand out, as it looks like a rainbow on shelf, while some premium mixers can blend into the background, leading to customer confusion.

In addition to the winter dining experience, Fever-Tree is also did a “Giving Tree” charitable endeavour for the holidays, which ties back to the brand’s natural positioning and which it successfully tested in the U.S. market in 2019 and adapted locally.

A portion of the proceeds from the bespoke Fever-Tree cocktails will go towards Tree Canada to support the planting and nurturing of trees. To honour their contribution, guests will receive a Fever-Tree ornament to add their names to hang on the Giving Tree.

Vibrant and Conversation supported the experience. Social media is handled Lifelong Crush, which is run by Broken Heart Love Affair. TFB and associates are the sales partners/distributors.