Gunna Drinks has expanded its range of craft soft drinks to four flavours.

Pink Punk and Muscovite join Original and Steelworks in an innovative lineup that offers consumers a unique blend of natural flavours – inspired by drinks from around the world.

All the brand’s variants are available in metal can and glass bottle formats, which retail at 99p and £1.49 respectively.

Founder and chief executive, Melvin Jay said: “We looked to the craft drinks market for inspiration, as it has seen rapid growth in recent years. Younger consumers feel that soft drinks lack real character both in terms of taste profile and personality, so we wanted to bring some true character back to carbonates and make it a sector that gets consumers excited.”

Expanding consumer appeal

The brand is clearly keen to stress its “true character” values, which are those often associated with millennials: individuality and inclusivity. To this end, the brand has worked with a tattoo artist, a dancer and even partnered with Ditch the Label – an anti-bullying, pro-equality charity.

More broadly, this focus on unique flavour and distinctive branding can be seen as part of the premiumisation trend currently underway in the carbonates market.

As the demand for more innovative products intensifies in the UK and internationally, consumers are willing to pay more for unique beverages with healthier ingredients and refined taste profiles.

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Gunna clearly understands these demands. Its slogan, ‘less sugar, more character’ confidently reflects the beverage’s sub-5% sugar content. This is especially important in the UK, where consumers have recently been reducing their intake of regular calorie carbonates.

This lowered consumption can, however, be of benefit to the likes of Gunna – as decreased spending promotes the notion of one-off premium purchases. Furthermore, this occasional indulgence can allow carbonated drinks to be seen in a more positive light.

Premiumisation of the carbonates market

Craft soda brand Fentimans exists in a similar vein, stressing its botanical brewing and natural ingredients. The brand launched a super-premium mixer, Connoisseurs Tonic Water, this week – which highlights the growing vitality of the market.

However, leading the way in carbonates premiumisation is undoubtedly Fever-Tree, which managed to double its UK revenues in the first half of 2017 with an enticing range of soft drinks and mixers.

This development precipitated Coca-Cola’s announcement of Schweppes 1783 last year – a premium range of flavoured tonic waters, which is to be backed up by a staggering £6.6m investment in marketing.

With a mounting number of soft drinks brands targeting millennials and adults, premiumisation seems set to continue in the coming years. This swell of craft and luxury brands offers consumers new experiences in terms of taste, image and health – which may not only alter the perception of carbonates as a whole but also potentially help to reverse the market’s recent declining fortunes.