For a long time, the soft drink market has been dominated by a small number of worldwide corporations (Coca Cola, Pepsi, Britvic) and everyone is well versed in the brands and the stories behind them.
However, over the last few years (particularly in London) a number of soft drink start-ups have begun to make an impression in this market. Could some of these companies go on to replicate the success achieved by independent brands in the alcoholic drinks sector?
I spoke with a Managing Director of a start-up soft drink business (who wished to remain anonymous) to see how they were building market presence against the dominant players:
"The most integral part of our success to date is the strength of independent brand we are building in the restaurant scene. We believe we are offering an upmarket alternative to the bigger brands, and that seems to resonate with our customers."
One success story everyone is looking to emulate is the rise of Fever Tree, who have become a global player in the tonic market. As consumer demand for drinks changed, they were able to position themselves as a provider of high quality tonic, to both drive and take advantage of new trends.
As a number of start-ups begin to make traction within the soft drinks arena, the chances of one or two of these up-and-coming brands achieving similar success to Fever Tree looks promising.
In a market where reputation is everything, it can sometimes be a challenge to assess which ones are worth paying attention to. For the Wine community, there's a system of awards to offer some answers - and consumers are naturally receptive to bottles emblazoned with the stars and crests.
Three of the major awards are the International Wine Challenge, The Sommelier Wine Awards, and the Decanter World Wine Awards. We've been engaging with our networks to ask how critical these awards are in deciding something as important as a career step.
Here are some of the comments from professionals in the field:
(1) A Wine Buyer for a major eCommerce company.
"The awards are an indicator of a company's standing in the market and are the clearest way to see how seriously they are investing in portfolio development."
(2) A Supply Chain Professional in the spirits industry.
"What you need to remember is that the awards aren't for us. They matter to the customers and, as such, it's going to have a knock on effect on my work, because I'm the one that has to anticipate and deal with the surge in demand that an individual award can cause."
(3) A Field Sales Professional.
"Out in the field, awards can be a helpful asset in terms of closing a deal, but no deal is closed on the basis of awards alone."
(4) A Logistics Professional at a major London distributor.
"I think it would matter more to me if I was selling the wines. The awards wouldn't sway me to consider a job that was paying less though!"
(5) A Field Sales Professional.
"To my existing accounts, the awards don't matter at all. However it can be relevant to the new accounts I develop."
(6) A Wine Buyer who has judged for one of the major awards.
"I would rather work for a profitable company with a sustainable career path, than a company that is dependent on one particular vintage. There's no guarantee that wine specific awards are indicators for business success."
If you are looking for your next step in the Wine sector within Sales, Marketing or Supply Chain, please do not hesitate to get in touch.