With restrictions heavily impacting shopper habits over the past year, the convenience channel has experienced strong sales uplift in the alcohol category, writes Halewood.

Data shows that the UK spent an extra £261m on alcohol to drink at home in September alone: an increase of 28% vs the same period for the previous year1.

So now that the on-trade is re-opening and restrictions are lifting, how can convenience retailers continue to reap the rewards that the alcohol category has presented over the past year? The answer depends on the category.


Off-trade gin sales have increased by a third in the last three years2, with 77 million bottles of gin having been sold in the last year alone, worth £1,262m3. This growth shows no sign of slowing down any time soon, particularly as we start approaching the summer months and shoppers look out for fun and exotic new flavours for at-home entertaining.

Whitley Neill is a premium handcrafted artisanal gin range, which is distilled in the heart of London. The range offers an original London dry gin, as well as an unparalleled line up of 11 fruity flavoured variants, including the UK’s number one premium gin4 and Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger, Blood Orange, Blackcurrant and Raspberry flavours.

The brand also regularly releases new limited edition flavours which tap into the latest flavour trends, allowing shoppers to explore and experiment within the category, all under the strength of the trusted Whitley Neill brand name. The latest launches for summer are Whitley Neill Watermelon & Kiwi and Mango & Lime, which tap into the trend for tropical, fruity flavours and are perfect for warmer weather.


It’s no secret that flavoured gin has seen incredible growth over the past few years. This trend for flavour experimentation is also transferring into wider spirits categories too, with flavoured vodka now being the fastest growing spirits category, up 56% year-on-year5.

JJ Whitley Artisanal Russian Vodka is an authentic Russian vodka range distilled in St Petersburg, tapping into consumer demand for quality products with provenance, all at an accessible price point.

The full range is made for easy mixing at home. With a wide variety of exciting flavoured options, including Watermelon & Lime, Passionfruit and Raspberry, there’s something to satisfy all shopper requirements. As colourful liquids continue to grow in popularity, the JJ Whitley Passionfruit and Raspberry flavours are also guaranteed to capture the attention of the more adventurous shopper.


The rum category was reported to have experienced the biggest growth across all alcohol categories during lockdown, with sales jumping 38% year-on-year to £119m between April to June 20206. Much of this growth was led by the flavoured and spiced rum category, showing an increase in shopper desire for experimentation and new product development (NPD).

The summer months are a great time to continue tapping into the flavoured rum trend. It’s an incredibly versatile spirit that can be used to make delicious cocktails and simple serves for barbeques, big nights in and home entertaining.

Distilled at the Bristol and Bath Rum Distillery, the Dead Man’s Fingers Rum Range boasts the most varied range of flavoured rums on the market. There are currently 12 flavours in the line-up, including Spiced, Coconut, Pineapple, Passionfruit and Banana.

All products are in eye-catching, colourful bottles to guarantee shelf-standout. The full range can be enjoyed neat, over ice, with a simple or mixer or for putting a twist on a classic cocktail.

Top Tips

  • NPD – Shoppers are looking for NPD within spirits. Excite them with the latest product launches and newest flavour trends
  • Formats – Stocking a range of different sizes such as 5cl, 35cl, 70cl and 1.75l helps tap into multiple shopper occasions, from trialling a new product to enjoying a big night in with friends
  • Inspire – Using POS materials with simple serve suggestions will help inspire customer choices and encourage purchases
  • Cross merchandise – All core spirit variants can be served simply with tonic, soda or lemonade. Cross merchandising these products alongside each other with supporting signage helps encourage additional spending
  • Location – Secondary sitings for NPD is an impactful way of showcasing new spirits offerings and encouraging impulse purchases


1 Kantar October 2020
2 Nielsen MAT to 27.03.21
3 Nielsen MAT to 27.03.21
4 Nielsen, MAT to 02.01.2021
5 Nielsen, Total Coverage, Total Spirits, MAT to 02.01.21
6 WSTA April to June 2020