Bottled cocktail mixers are on an impressive run. Category sales reached nearly $246 million in measured channels for the 52-week period ending on May 15, up nearly 6 percent as compared to the same timeframe a year ago, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Although the segment is dominated by legacy brands like Mr. & Mrs. T’s, Master of Mixes and others, Powell & Mahoney, a manufacturer of all-natural mixers and tonics, is quietly surging up the ranks.
Bolstered by national distribution at Target, Powell and Mahoney pulled in nearly $3.13 million in sales during the period, up 75.6 percent year-over-year, according to IRI. Co-founder Mark Mahoney attributes swelling growth to rising consumer demand for premium and natural options within the mixer set, along with brand’s focus on high-quality ingredients and its recent innovation with carbonated varieties.
Including Target, Powell & Mahoney picked up new distribution at 3,000 retail locations over the past year. Meanwhile, the brand recently landed chain-wide placement at Publix as well as over 220 Meijer stores across the Midwest. With its Bloody Mary and Margarita products leading the way, Powell & Mahoney is now the fastest-growing mixer brand in the grocery channel and top-selling one at Target and in natural and specialty channels, according to Mahoney.
To support the new distribution, Powell & Mahoney ramped up production by threefold over the last 12 months. The mixers, handcrafted in small batches using steam kettles at Vermont Bottling Company — a facility majority owned by Mahoney — are now produced in batches of up 22,000 bottles per shift. Meanwhile, the brand has partnered with Leahy Foods on a food service line of products; Mahoney is expecting big things from the aseptically packaged mixers, with a goal of 1.5 million servings of Powell & Mahoney consumed on-premise over the next 12 months.
In the above video, filmed at BevNET Live Summer 2016 as part of the conference’s “Livestream Lounge,” Mahoney talks much more about the growth of Powell & Mahoney, how the company is analyzing data to most effectively market the brand, and sales velocity for cocktail mixers. Mahoney also discusses how Vermont Bottling Company is expanding to meet production needs for Powell & Mahoney as well as other co-packing partners, including mixer brands Owl’s Brew and Morris Kitchen and RTD tea brand Thea’s English Tea.