The drinks giant launched Gordon’s Elderflower on the back of the success of Gordon’s Cucumber, which hit shelves last year.
Marketing manager Katerina Podtserkovskaya told OLN that where the cucumber variant is stocked alongside Gordon’s original it makes up 7% of sales.
She added: “We are absolutely dedicated to making Cucumber even bigger than that.
“But we think elderflower will be bigger than cucumber.
“We are investing more in Elderflower than we did in Cucumber. It’s a seven-digit marketing spend. Media spend alone is £1 million.”
Gordon’s is the market leader and claims to account for 48% of gin sales in the UK, so if Gordon’s Elderflower hits Diageo’s targets it will become one of the bestselling gins in the country.
When asked if it could make up a tenth of Gordon’s sales, Podtserkovskaya said: “We will be disappointed if Elderflower only ends up accounting for 10% of Gordon’s sales. It might take us longer than a year to get there, but we will be absolutely maximising our flavour range.”
Her confidence is founded on consumer tastings Diageo conducted.
“Last year we did an activity where we served Gordon’s with a touch of elderflower cordial and tonic,” she said. “We put it into blind tastings with consumers and the results were mind-blowing.
“It worked amazingly well and this was one of the factors why we decided to develop Gordon’s Elderflower.
“Consumers preferred elderflower to other things we tried. It’s delicate, sweet and smooth.
“They said it was something they would be absolutely delighted to drink.”
Last year Gordon’s also ran an off-trade promotion where consumers could buy a bundle of Gordon’s, tonic water and Bottlegreen’s elderflower cordial.
Podtserkovskaya said the promotion was a success, and this was another factor in deciding to launch the elderflower variant.
“Gin is one of the last categories in spirits to use flavours,” said Podtserkovskaya, who highlighted the importance of innovation to the category’s long-term health.
“Beer and cider have an amazing recent history of innovation. Fruit ciders drive growth for the category. Flavours in vodka is a massive category.
“In gin it was missing until very recently, when Gordon’s started doing innovation on a mass scale.”
She added: “Cucumber was amazing for recruiting – data shows 40% of its consumers were new to the gin category.
“It’s different to Gordon’s original, but not vastly different. But elderflower takes it into a completely different territory.
“When we looked at the statistics we saw it overindexes with 25 to 34-year-olds and with females.
“Gordon’s is the leader so if people are coming into Gordon’s the whole category will benefit and grow faster.”