Kopparberg’s Great Grapefruit Giveaway

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It’s funny where a throw-away comment can lead you. Last month I was writing about the new Kopparberg Cloudberry in an article on summer drinks, and how Kopparberg are promoting a perfect serve with a wedge of pink grapefruit. The next thing I knew I was handing out grapefruits to bartenders across Glasgow.

Having worked in the licensed trade for roughly twelve years my scepticism regarding the grapefruit garnish was borne from experience. New products launch in the drinks market every week, often with their own particular recommended perfect serve, or USP in marketing speak. Well-stocked cocktail venues aside, the majority of bars are limited in the garnishes that they carry, and anybody attempting to meet each brand’s perfect serve would be left with a back-bar full of rotten fruit within a few days.

With that in mind, when commenting on Kopparberg Cloudberry’s grapefruit garnish I wrote, “How many bars will be willing to carry spare pink grapefruit on their back-bar remains to be seen.”

You never know who’s reading of course, and the day after publication I received an email from Ben Turner, Customer Marketing Manager for Kopparberg. He suggested we put my musings to the test, and thus The Great Grapefruit Give-away was born.

I met with Kopparberg’s Mark Nicholson on a Tuesday afternoon. Our task – to visit three Glasgow bars and donate some pink grapefruit to see if they would agree to serve it with Kopparberg Cloudberry.

Our first stop was WEST Brewery at Glasgow Green, where we met Bar Manager Stephen Craig. He told us that he was going to begin stocking Cloudberry over the Commonwealth Games, as Kopparberg had supplied the venue with a dump fridge for their outdoor bar. As for the grapefruit? Stephen said, “We’ll be using it. It won’t be a problem, we’ll just prep it in advance. Kopparberg’s our best seller after our own beers, so it’s a no-brainer.”

Next stop was Dram (the bar, not the magazine) on Woodlands Road, where we met with General Manager Erin McGeogh and Maclay Inns’ Jackie Keith. Although Erin admitted that the cider benefited from the grapefruit garnish, she remained sceptical about whether it would work behind the bar. Says Erin, “Now that I’ve seen the difference I would definitely prefer to pour it with grapefruit. I’ll buy some in for the bar, but I’m not sure about volume. Kopparberg Mixed Fruit is the only volume selling cider that we stock, regardless of how many flavours we bring it. Still, I’ll get these grapefruits chopped and ready anyway!”

The last venue we visited was Paperino’s on Byres Road, where Frazer Devine told us that Kopparberg was flying out of the door. He said, “The Raspberry flavour has been selling like hotcakes, as has Elderflower and Lime. We serve cucumber with the Elderflower because we use it anyway with Hendrick’s, and although Cloudberry sales are going well I’m not sure we can sell enough to stop the grapefruits going off. It’s just a garnish, and we’re quite strict with how much we spend on that kind of stuff.”

We let Frazer sample a taste of the grapefruit-garnished Cloudberry. After mulling it over for a second he added, “I think it’s more of a visual thing than anything else, but the longer you leave the grapefruit in to steep then the more flavours you get from it. It tastes good, I’ll say that much.”

Although not everybody committed to holding grapefruit behind the bar, Mark was pleased with the general response. He told me, “The grapefruit giveaway was a fun and quirky way to engage with our customers and highlight our Cloudberry variant. Giving bar staff the opportunity to taste the product with and without gave them the chance to see that our suggested perfect serve of adding a wedge of pink grapefruit is no gimmick. It not only enhanced the flavour but also added a little bit of theatre to the drink which is what a lot of folk are looking for when they head out.”

As for me, I still need some convincing before I believe that bars across Scotland will suddenly begin ordering pink grapefruits en masse to garnish a cider, though I have been wrong before, and often. However I applaud Mark and the rest of the Kopparberg team for the enthusiasm with which they are trying to win sceptical bartenders (and journalists) over to Cloudberry’s perfect serve. Who knows, perhaps if more brands engaged the on-trade with such effort when promoting their garnish of choice then the idea of pubs across Scotland stocking grapefruit on the back-bar wouldn’t seem so outlandish after all.

If you have any queries about Kopparberg Cloudberry or just want a chat about pink grapefruits in general, you can contact Mark at mark.nicholson@kopparberg.co.uk




Category: Brand News, Features, News