School friends Sam Showering, Joe Knopfler and Tom Hockedy are young entrepreneurs who have reinvented modern spritzers and cocktails; from their tiny office in Holland Park, they are beginning to command a respectable share of the top-end of the Spritz market. Sam Showering comes from a brewing background, his ancestors were publicans at the Black Swan in Shepton Mallett, Somerset; one day the brewery opposite caught fire and Sam’s ancestor helped put the fire out, then he purchased the remains of the Kilver Street Brewery. In those early days the brewery made pear champagne, which was as popular as Cava and Prosecco is today, Sam’s great grandfather founded the trade markBabycham, the “bambi” on the bottle of this sparkling champagne perry was a runaway success in the 1960s and 1970s, Babychamwas the Showering family’s first big brand.
When the Showerings decided they needed some marketing, they came to London to visit an agency in Soho but they got out of the elevator on the wrong floor, serendipitously they ran into the legendary marketeer Jack Wynne-Williams of Masius, one of the top international advertising agencies, who sealed the deal, but Jack was not the one they originally had the appointment with!Babycham was followed by other ‘Ready to Drink’ (RTD) products and on the back of these successes the family purchased Harvey’s Bristol Cream, the best-selling sherry of all time, Cockburn’s Port, Teachers Whisky and Tooheys beer. After the business went public and following the death of Sir Keith Showering, a new business called Brothers Drinks was formed by the great nephews of Sir Keith. Brothers invented the first strawberry flavoured ciderand continue to manufacture other well-known ciders and drinks products, which also include the now world-famous Fever Tree tonics and mixers.
It was when Sam was working at Brothers in sales and in the tank house that he met Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow, the Fever Tree founders, which led to them giving him a job selling Fever Tree products in London. Sam excelled at this as he has a natural selling technique as well as an incomparable knowledge of how the Fever Tree is made; during this time lived at Joe’s house and saved up.
Sam loves fortified wines (it is in his blood) and was concerned RTD products had lost their edge, with Joe he began to innovate beyond flavoured ciders during the evenings away from work; he was looking for a more sophisticated taste. He had heard that in Spanish resorts folks drank sherry and tonic. Over time this is how the original Pedrino sherry and tonic Spritz was created in 2015, using Pedro Ximenes sherry with Sam’s own tonic blend, andit was the encouragement of Jo’s father that spurred the team on to pitch to Waitrose, a top quality UK supermarket. Waitrose recognised the potential of Pedrino’s first product, the supermarket were super helpful with product development and support for the new brand and today Pedrino Sherry and Tonic Spritz and Pedrino Ruby (Port) and Tonic Spritz are in all 300 stores with the Pedrino Vermouth and Tonic Spritz only launching at the end of last year.The schoolfriends won the ISC International Pre-Mixed Drinks Producer of the Year 2019 with Pedrino Sherry and Tonic Spritz also winning the category.
The Pedrino lifestyle with the classy Mediterranean vibe has been perfectly created by Adam Fairbrother, marketing supremo formerly with Saatchi and Saatchi. Big brandsfrom the likes of Diageo (Tanqueray), Campari and Halewoods (Whitley Neill) are now teaming up with Pedrino Spritz to spritz up their cocktail offering this year. Pedrino Spritzers are 5.5%abv, they are light and refreshing, the perfect way to start a lunch or evening, served by themselves over ice or used as a mixer to spritz up fashionable classic cocktails. The bittersweet Sherry and Tonic Spritz is popularly mixed into cocktails with gin, vodka, tequila and white rum- the more floral Vermouth and Tonic Spritz is paired with gin, liqueurs and Italian bitters- the fruity Ruby Port and Tonic Spritz is best combined with gin, brandy, whisky and amaretto.
For Valentine’s Day on Friday 14th Pedrino have concocted a Ruby Spritz with which to toast the apple of your eye.