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Alcopops are declining thanks to consumers' desire to put drinks together as they like, writes Jane Bainbridge.
The Background From 007 bolting down a Martini to the Sex and the City girls sipping a Cosmopolitan, popular culture has long portrayed cocktails as an aspirational drink, which advertising has been able to play with. Joan Collins' close encounter with a Cinzano paved the way for Martini's recent ads featuring George Clooney turning up to a party, only for his drink to be invited in without him. By combining aspiration with humour, alcoholic mixables manufacturers have encouraged consumers to experiment with cocktails at home and in bars, helping the sector take share from RTDs.
The vogue for cocktails has boosted the alcoholic mixables market in the UK to a value of pounds 614m in 2006 - an increase of 47% since 2001, according to Mintel.
The sector is rather eclectic, defined as drinks (but not spirits) to which mixers such as lemonade, orange juice or tonic water are usually added, although they can also be drunk straight. It falls into two categories: spirits-based drinks and aromatised wine.
Spirit-based mixables make up the majority of the value of the market, accounting for 80% in 2005, or 64% by volume. They include established brands such as Pimm's, Campari and Southern Comfort, as well as more recent additions such as Archers and Taboo.
Aromatised wines include brands such as Martini, Cinzano, French dry vermouth Noilly …