Après ski market boosts drinks brands

June 20, 2019
By Melissa Parker

It’s time for drink brands to promote for the après ski occasion. The latest issue of Drinks Trade magazine investigates who will be hitting the slopes this winter.

There is no better way to end a day in the snow than by sitting by an open fire and thawing out from the inside.

Traditionally hot and spicy liqueurs and spirits such as Jägermeister and Fireball like to own the mountains, but let’s not forget the allure of a warm mulled wine, the sessionability of good rich ale or the boost of an Espresso Martini to warm the cockles.

There is much happening in the snow in terms of investment and this fertile ground to promote to the après ski market can only benefit drinks brands.

Recently Vale Resorts purchased Mount Hotham and Falls Creek for $174 million showing healthy growth and investment into the ski fields for future snow boarding and skiing generations.

Owner of the Dinner Plain Hotel on the Victorian Ski Fields, Georgia Sheriff, knows a thing or two about drinking in the snow. In her past life she was Victorian sales rep for Jägermeister when Buller, Falls Creek and Hotham were her ‘babies’.

She says people still want to drink what they like when they are on their ski holiday, but explains that brands and on-premise still very much have the ability to create the culture and push a brand depending on winter promotions.

Georgia says the stalwart snow brands such as Fireball, Jagermeister and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire Whiskey are still big, but cocktails are becoming more popular.

“In the past many après ski customers still enjoy the idea of doing a shot together as a group but the shot is not as big in the snow as it was say a decade ago.”

Cocktails such as the Espresso Martini have translated well into the snow. Dinner Plain Hotel does its own version, the Kracken Espresso Martini, using spiced rum instead of vodka.

Traditionally mulled wine has always been a ski resort favourite, but Georgia says there can be issues with consistency.

“Everyone of my staff thinks they are a mixologist and can make the best mulled wine, but you don’t get the consistency so we purchase this beautiful pre-mix that we add red wine to and it’s awesome.”

In terms of brand activation, she says Jägermeister is still the number one supporter of the snow and provides the on-premise with snowboards and hoodies, but also brands such as Canadian Club and Dry provide crazy sherper hats for customers and Corona provides beanies.

Canadian Club party Thredbo

Pictured above is the last Canadian Club First Base Party at Thredbo Alpine for 2018.

Carlton and United’s Frothy Ale from Matilda Bay will also look to invest in the snow this season.

Brand Manager for Frothy, Stephen McWilliams said Frothy has been really well received at the Dinner Plain Hotel since the beer launched last September.

“This ski season we’re excited to be ramping up our involvement with the hotel,” he said. “This will see discounted jugs of Frothy for winter staff working at the snow plus other exciting promotions.”

Georgia says there is a big element of attaching the après ski occasion and the brand to the good time that customers have on their skiing or snowboarding holiday and then taking that memory home.

“Because we all work on memory and emotions,” she said.

Fireball Whiskey

Senior Brand Manager at Fireball, Jon Prew, says they are keeping some activations under wraps for now, so as to not spoil any surprises but “rest assured we’ll be bringing the fire to Jindabyne, Thredbo, Perisher and Falls this season because there is nothing better than a Fireball shot to warm you up after a day on the slopes.”

What they can tell us is they have collaborated with Aussie art legend, Le Grizz who has created some Fireball x Le Grizz snowboards, t-shirts and hockey jerseys.

“Our crew of ambassadors will be shredding on these, and more will be available to win in bars and for sale on our merchandise store www.fireballmerch.com.au,” says Jon.

Fireball also work with Instagram and Facebook to target the Fireball demographic and gain awareness around the brand’s strategy in the winter season, as well as employ half a dozen part-time snowboard ambassadors to spread the word on the slopes.

“We are partnering with Thredbo for Fireball Fridays where boarders and skiers can get a Fireball shot between four and six pm when they come straight off the slopes before moving onto their drink of choice,” says Jon.

Jägermeister really promote the sharing and creating memories piece and call it a drink not to be drunk alone. Jägermeister brand manager, Tomas Rogers says Jägermeister will be looking at smaller events in the snow this year, less big giveaways and prizes and more intimate events where the brand can be enjoyed.

“We are working on a few things. Watch this space,” he says.

When asked about great ways to consume Jägermeister, Tomas said either an ice cold shot straight out of the freezer like they do in Germany or in a cocktail such as the Jägermeister Mule with a dash of bitters and ginger beer.

Mumm long lunch Thredbo

Meanwhile, Mumm launched the ski season in Thredbo earlier this month with its annual Mumm long lunch, held on the village’s longest ever table setting, complete with ski sabrage and champagne fountains.

Also in Thredbo, Heineken hosts Outside Bar parties and an after-party at the town’s only nightclub, Keller Bar at Thredbo Alpine Hotel.

Click here to read the May/June edition of Drinks Trade.

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