How would you sum up Alderman’s history?
Having grown from a small business, located in Liam’s Didsbury-based living room, when it first began in 2017, Alderman’s Drinks has gone from strength to strength to become a multi-million-pound business.
We have a track record of not only creating amazing brands, including Didsbury Gin and ARLU Rum, but pushing boundaries in their respective product categories with our innovative flavour infusions.
The past year has been particularly significant for us, not only did we launch ARLU Rum to great success, securing listings in a number of places, including Co-op and Booths, we also took the opportunity to give back to the city that our company was born in.
We stopped production at our distillery and switched it to hand sanitiser production at the start of the pandemic – producing a whopping 2 million bottles in 7 days for public services in Greater Manchester.
Can you talk us through your brand portfolio?
Didsbury Gin is a range of bright, vibrant & zesty gins, which includes the original, as well as three flavoured gins: Strawberry & Sicilian Lemon, Raspberry & Elderflower and Blood Orange & Ginger. They are all available in 20cl and 70cl bottles. We also have limited edition flavours of our gins – and have just launched a Manchester Tart limited edition.
For those who can’t pick between the flavours, we have a gift pack, which includes 5cl bottles of all four flavours for just £14.95.
We also now have a range of bartender quality ready-to-drink (RTD) G&T cans. Available in Strawberry & Sicilian Lemon, Raspberry & Elderflower, Blood Orange & Ginger and Tutti Frutti flavours. During lockdown, we’ve also broadened our portfolio to include ‘Gin-tastic’ and ‘Gin-dulgence’ boxes, which include a selection of our gins, RTD cans, tonic waters and snacks from Snaffling Pig, so people can mimic the feel of socialising out of the home indoors.
In addition, we have our rum brand, ARLU Rum, which is a range of spiced and flavoured rums imported from the Caribbean and blended with unique flavours and spices in the heart of Manchester. Shoppers can choose from Blood Orange, Passionfruit and Mango or Original Spiced flavours.
How is the gin market developing?
As with all F&B, consumers are becoming more quality conscious. We believe with our range of gin using only 100% real fruit that we’re pushing the boundaries of consumer taste with innovative flavours.
Has lockdown affected market performance?
The on trade has been decimated, and for more craft brands like us with limited off trade distribution, revenues are down significantly. Where we have seen a positive gain is e-commerce where we invested heavily during the first lockdown and it is continuing to grow. We have recently announced that we are shipping worldwide because of this demand which is very exciting!
How has the Didsbury Gin range been performing?
At our year end (as of Jan 2021) Didsbury Gin’s revenue growth is up by 170% vs last year with profits significantly increasing and this can be attributed to significant e-commerce growth.
How has the Arlu Rum brand performed since its launch earlier this year?
ARLU has seen similar growth and has secured several regional listings including Coop and Booths which is very encouraging.
How can grocers maximise sales of your products?
To maximise sales, we believe retailers should work regionally and champion fast growing brands. In fact, many already do. We’ve seen this work to great mutual success as it helps retailers to meet the needs of their shoppers within different regions, while enabling brands like ours to showcase our range and grow from a regional into national footprint.
How do you work with grocers to improve sales?
As a business we work with retailers by coming up with innovative ways to communicate with their customers, including targeted advertising, in store activations and attractive below the line consumer incentives. We always work with retailers to create a comprehensive brand marketing launch / plan.
What marketing support do you have for your range this year?
Last year we ran our first ever big outdoor advertising campaign, which was great.
We have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline for this year – we’re looking to ramp up our marketing spend as we look to scale the brand nationally.
We’ve kicked this off with a PR and influencer campaign for our latest launch for Manchester Tart, which has reached over 5 million consumers to date, and counting.
We’re also investing in new recruits in the team.
Do you have any NPD planned?
Yes lots! We’ve just re-launched our Didsbury Gin Manchester Tart flavour, partnering with EMERGE 3Rs, a charity that aims to fight food waste and poverty in Greater Manchester, to help feed children and their families most in need. For every bottle of Didsbury Gin’s ‘Manchester Tart’ flavoured gin sold £5 will be donated to EMERGE 3Rs.That will provide up to 20 meals to charities supporting those most in need in Greater Manchester.
Inspired by the classic dessert, the unique flavour ‘Manchester Tart’ is a blend of bold flavours of raspberry jam, vanilla and subtle hints of coconut. Like all Didsbury Gin products it combines traditional artisan methods and infusing modern botanicals using a blend of hand peeled fresh citrus, British roots and hand cracked juniper berries. The result is clean, crisp & zesty – good enough to drink neat, perfect with tonic and delightful in cocktails. Didsbury Gin recommends garnishing with raspberries or lemon to really bring the drink to life.
The rest of our NPD is a secret for now. Our next will be around end of April/beginning of May. Keep your eyes out!