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Five minutes with Paul Scarratt, BlackFish Brands

Published:  01 March, 2022

The purveyor of bar-quality pouches of popular cocktails talks to Andrew Catchpole about the explosive growth in ready-to-drink.

Post-lockdown, what’s the outlook like for RTD cocktails?

At the time when Blackfish Brands, which owns Soho Street Cocktails, was doing its fundraise, Nielsen stats relating to people drinking at home and cocktails indicated that the UK market alone was worth £620m turnover. That suggested more than 10 million consumers drinking RTDs and cocktails on a regular basis. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) per annum, going back to October 2020, was 5%, which is brilliant. You’re looking at 15% over a three-year period. The CAGR we are now seeing suggests it is 15%, which means the whole RTD sector is caught in a perfect storm. It relates to consumer demand for cocktails becoming increasingly prevalent during Covid, but also relates to the Brexit issues – currently bartender resource. Across independent free trade and the managed sector of bars and restaurants there’s a significant gap in hospitality recruitment. A lot of the bar staff are no longer in the UK, and others, at home during Covid, found employment elsewhere. We’ve a double impact, yet demand for cocktails is unprecedented.

What’s different about Soho Street Cocktails?

We focus on taste not from concentrates but purées and juices, so we are hopefully providing the highest quality taste profile that is out there. And we see this growth continuing over the next 18 months to two years, with demand for cocktails having moved from a special occasion drink to a staple drink.