Tonic water is a carbonated soft drink with quinine dissolved in it, whereas quinine is a bitter compound that comes from the bark of the cinchona tree. It is often consumed with regular products such as non-flavored beverages or combined with alcohol, and fruit juice. Diet versions of tonic water contain very less calories.
Market players are focusing on introducing tonic water products that are more varied in terms of flavor, texture, pricing, and packaging. It even contains different ingredients and calorie content. An increasing number of consumers today focus on health by reducing total calorie intake, owing to which unsweetened variants of tonic water are emerging in the retail arena.
The North American market dominates the global tonic water market in terms of revenue owing to factors such as increased standards of living and a large number of lounges, bars, and cafes. The market in the Asia Pacific is projected to have the fastest growth with the highest CAGR, owing to increasing disposable income and rapid industrialization and urbanization.
According to a study, “In 2022 the growth of Tonic Water Market will have significant change from the previous year. Over the next five years, the Tonic Water market will register a 9.0 percent CAGR in terms of revenue, the global market size will reach $ 1224.3 million by 2027 from $ 676 million In 2020.”
To cater to this growing demand, PEER stepped into the race and progressively managed its way up. Positioned as a contemporary lifestyle brand PEER was established in October-end 2021 in Delhi NCR. The brand was founded by Anant Jangwal with an aim to make the brand diverse for Indian markets.
“Even though the consumption of the white spirits (including gin) in India is less than 5 percent of the total IMFL and FMFL market, India is still the 5th largest market for gin in the world. The premium gin market in India is expected to grow at an 11.1 percent CAGR between 2020-2025. Indian consumers are willing to pay a higher premium and wanted to experiment with a wider variety of gins. About 70 percent of the time when a consumer is having gin, it is with tonic water. Since the market for gin is growing, so is the tonic water market. The total mixer market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9 percent between 2022 and 2025, while the premium tonic water segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15 percent during the same period,” Jangwal stated.
“We see the drinking culture moving towards experience and joy. Consumers are preferring unique flavors and different infusions in their drinks while at the same time preferring healthy, low-calorie, guilt-free options. We also see the DIY cocktail culture coming up where such flavored tonics, and cocktail premixes are preferred. Zero Alcohol spirits are also a rising trend and India may catch on to it in the near future,” he further said.
Retail and Marketing Approach
With an aim to position itself as fun to drink, energetic, and to be perceived as a friendly brand, PEER applied some unique retail and marketing techniques.
“The idea is that anyone with PEER tonic water should be seen as an individual of refined taste who cares about his/her mixer and drink and is also perceived as an approachable person. The ‘E’s are also inverted in our logo. The reason for this is that we believe in flipping the switch of how people drink with one another. Drinking with one’s peers should not be about getting ‘drunk’, but about mixing and interacting with one another while enjoying one’s drink,” Jangwal shared.
“Since we are a lifestyle premium beverage brand and our users tend to be tech-savvy, social media and digital advertising play a key role. We are also aggressive in participating in flagship events and shows such as the Jaipur Literature Festival where we are the exclusive tonic water partner. We have lots more events, participation, and sponsorships lined up for 2022. We also organize experiential activities at popular HoReCa venues where the tonic is enjoyed in various cocktails. Along with creating awareness about PEER amongst a large audience at leading events and festivals in India, we also believe in doing small-scale events with our target audience where we are able to build a strong connection with the brand,” he added.
When we look at consumer buying behavior, users buy their tonics when they are out shopping for other grocery or alcohol items. Hence, the offline channel contributes majorly to tonic sales. However, especially during lockdowns, the brand saw an uptick in online purchases.
“PEER is sold in modern trade outlets such as Modern Bazaar, Le Marche, NEEDS, Nature’s Basket, and online via Amazon and its own website,” he stated.
The vision of the company is to become the leading premium beverage brand with a portfolio of low or zero cal.
“PEER’s current range comprises the regular Indian Tonic, Mint Tonic, Bitter Lemon Tonic, and a Zero calorie and Zero sugar tonic variant. We will be launching 2 new SKUs per year over the next 4 years in tonic water and related categories. The common factor across all these product types will be that they will be innovative and will cater to conscious adult consumers. They are sold in 200ml glass bottles, each priced at Rs 95,” he asserted.
The brand has been growing at an average of 60 percent month-on-month since launch, and in 2 years’ time, PEER will be over 25x of its current revenue. PEER’s tonic water is currently available across 130 points of sale in 6 cities. In FY 23 the brand is expected to be available in 18 cities, and in FY24 it is expected to be available in 30 cities. It has already captured a 10-15 percent share of the sales volume in the premium tonic water category in select modern trade stores it is available.
“The vision of PEER is to become the leading premium beverage brand with a portfolio of low or zero-calorie variants catering to a growing base of conscious consumers. The international market provides a massive opportunity for a premium Indian beverage brand like ours. Our leading competitor in the tonic water segment is based out of the UK and it exports to 50+ countries. Indian tonic water brands too are exporting to a variety of countries like Mauritius, Hong Kong, UAE, UK, Israel, etc. PEER has also received queries for imports from European and neighboring Asian countries, and is expected to start its exports by the end of 2022,” he concluded.