Fevertree’s Lockdown Blow Softened by Stay-Home Drinkers

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(Bloomberg) -- Drinkers locked down to ward off the coronavirus are hitting the gin -- and that’s helping tonic maker Fevertree Drinks Plc compensate for the loss of business at closed pubs and bars.

Sales of the company’s mixers at U.K retail stores, which have remained open, rose 24% in the first full month of the lockdown. In the U.S., such sales nearly doubled through mid-May, Fevertree said in a statement Thursday, citing Nielsen data.

The outlook overall is less rosy. With bars shut, so-called on-trade sales have mostly been wiped out. The company said it can’t predict full-year results, given the prospect of continued social distancing measures even when bars, pubs and restaurants -- which account for about half of U.K. sales -- reopen.

The shares rose about 2% early Thursday in London.

Fevertree had previously urged customers not to see its tonic, which contains quinine, as a coronavirus remedy. It said some drinkers were asking whether there’s a similarity between the ingredient and the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, touted by some -- including U.S. President Donald Trump -- as a possible treatment.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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