I’ve just read an interesting article in the Guardian that said Fever Trees shares had jumped up by 15%.
I think a lot of us are pleased about this.
Please excuse the rather old feature photo. I read the article and felt compelled to write something. I used this photo when I wrote a little article about Fever Tree 3 years ago when I was able to ask Luke Benson some questions about what they do there. I was working in a gin bar at the time which is how I got the opportunity to talk to him. This was were I first discovered Fever Tree and I’ve never looked back since. There was a lot of passion on them and that really caught my attention. They thought outside the box, with products like the Mediterranean tonic, boasting some incredible savoury flavours and less quinine than most tonics, making a good recommendation for those who are a little sensitive to it.
However, it’s a changing market. Essentially, Fever Tree created the artisan tonic. And, people love a good idea. Nowadays we are spoilt for choice with amazing brands offering everything from the most well balanced tonic you can get (the quinine level is juuuuuusst right), to amazing flavours that have added a whole new level to the scope of flavour you can achieve with a little experimentation and golly, isn’t that one of the fundamental facets of the gin boom.
From your Delightful Double Dutch to your straight up Distillers Tonic, there is everything to play for in this game. And I used to say that perhaps Fever Tree had hit their point. They’d done what they came to do. They changed our idea of what tonic water could actually be. They upped the game and in turn they changed gin and tonic forever. There have been changes. Co-founders Charles Rolls and Tim Warrilow, selling out a stake but still retaining 14%, just enough to still keep their finger in the pie. Where to go from here? Would the quirky new flavours outrun them? How could they adapt?
Well it seems that their reputation has a particular robustness that is almost impenetrable to attack. I speak from experience when I discuss the loyalty of Fever Tree fans. Whilst working as a Brand Ambassador for a gin at Gin Festival Ltd’s events, I witnessed first hand the transition in event sponsorship from Fever Tree to Schweppes and although it could have been worse (no riots as such), it wasn’t a smooth one. Every other question was “What do you think about this?”, “How has this happened?” and simple statements like “This is a mistake”.
I’m going to bold here and I’m going to share my opinion on what was, at the time, a very sensitive topic. When it comes to me, personally, my loyalty lies with Fever Tree. They changed the game. Schweppes have finally realised they had to do something and they had the money to throw at developing a whole new range of premium tonics. The range is good. I love some of the flavours. But the heart was just lacking a little bit, for me. But that’s just my opinion and we’ve all got one of those.
Long live Fever Tree. This resilience to an ever changing market full of innovation and new ideas allows Fever Tree to sit, solid as a rock, with various tonic waters lapping at their sides. Don’t me wrong, they’re not invincible, but all things considered, being “comfortably ahead of forecasts” is a pretty good place to be indeed. I love some of the new tonics coming out, there are some amazing things out there and we really are at a ‘next level’ stage. But, I just love the idea of a beach, and the one, slightly larger stone, slowly eroding over time, with the tonic waters and smaller stones it has created, swirling gently around that steadfast base.