Crazy about absinthe?

19th September, 2012 by Becky Paskin
La Fee Absinthe

Several producers are trying to pull absinthe away from its traditional roots and revamp it for modern consumers

“The biggest barrier for the category is to get everyone working on the same drink strategy and not to spoil it with shots,” says Guillaume Pétavy Meynier, international brand development manager at Pernod Ricard. “For some brands it is the easy way to go, but it’s also the easiest way to kill the category.”

Jean-Pierre Trouillet, export manager for Distilleries et Domaines de Provence agrees, claiming that brands need to discourage absinthe’s shot culture. “A warm shot of absinthe is terrible – you won’t be able to taste it properly,” he says. “That’s why we educate bartenders about how to serve it, even if it’s on ice, as a small amount of water can lengthen the flavours. Do shots with something else.”

Working on the same message is all well and good, but many believe there must be a strong brand – a Smirnoff or a Bacardi – to lead the category in terms of vision. Is that Pernod’s role?

“We must be category captain,” says Meynier. “It is important that we lead the category in terms of education because we are the only brand that has the ability to be global. Lucid is the biggest brand in the US, but it is not active overseas. It falls on us.”

Pernod, which currently sells 10,000 nine-litre cases worldwide, is taking its position very seriously – educating bartenders aside, it is shedding its notorious reputation of the past by forging new associations with the world’s creative community by partnering with big name fashion houses and art galleries.

“The idea is not to go back to our Montmartre roots, but to capitalise on this new generation of creative personalities,” Meynier explains. The company is also collaborating with a group of French distillers to define absinthe as a spirit in the EU for the first time, to gain a sense of a collective within the category and to end public confusion.

“We want to build the brand and the category slowly, but surely. It’s not about volume and there is no pressure to get it. This is about working together to get absinthe listed and drunk properly,” says Meynier.

3 Responses to “Crazy about absinthe?”

  1. Seth Pylad says:

    Since when is or was Sweden not a European country?
    I know we’re a little “off-side” here in the cold north but, however – Absinthe was never legally banned here either. Due to the state monopoly of the sale of alcohol in Sweden the outcome was in fact about the same though. Absinthe couldn’t be bought here but it was never forbidden.

    Nowadays everything is quite alright again.

  2. Lucius Green says:

    Pernod Ricard does not make absinthe and is hardly a good source of information. There are fine absinthes on the market and there is good information as well at places like, feeverte

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