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The liqueur and speciality spirit brands to watch in 2015

A focused approach on signature serves will be the strategy of choice for liqueur and speciality spirits brands next year, but which will prove the most successful? We pick the brands and trends to watch in 2015.

Which liqueurs and speciality spirits will be the brands to watch in 2015?

When French spirits and liqueurs producer Rémy Cointreau released its half-year results up to September, the picture looked bleak.

Sales had slid a massive 15.5%, which was blamed on the Asia-Pacific market. However, the firm’s liqueurs and other spirits bucked the trend and performed comparatively well reporting a 9.1% organic growth.

Speciality spirit Metaxa experienced double-digit growth and Cointreau enjoyed a “solid performance” during the period, mainly attributed to “strong momentum” in its major markets of the US, France, Australia and Japan.

“There is a very good future for liqueurs and I believe that new flavours and innovation are really going to help the category grow,” Alfred Cointreau, sixth generation of the Cointreau family, told The Spirits Business in October soon after the launch of Cointreau Noir. For a category such as liqueurs that has seen little fluctuation with volumes declining less than 1% last year, it’s an optimistic outlook.

Out of the million case-selling brands, which include the likes of Baileys, the standout success story is Polish liqueur Lubelska. Owned by Stock Spirits, Lubelska nearly trebled its growth rate from 10% in 2012 to 27% in 2013, bucking the trend with substantial regional growth.

The group claimed its success was down to “trend setting in flavour innovation, and developing a fun, contemporary range of flavours with particular appeal to younger adults and female drinkers who enjoy the brand in shots or cocktails”.

Signature serves

But if we take a step back to look at the overall picture, Aperol has proved itself as one of the great international triumphs. Its focus has been fixed on its signature serve, the Aperol Spritz, which it continues to push in several markets to great success.

The master of the single serve however, has got to be Jägermeister, which shifted 7.15 million cases last year. “It is worth having one signature drink globally, but… this is very dependent on local culture and consumer behavior,” said Michael Eichel, the company’s director of corporate communications.

However, within the liqueurs and specialties categories this year talk has largely been focused on cachaça as a result of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Undoubtedly, the sporting event provided a global platform for cachaça, even if producers were cautious of becoming a “football spirit”. Plus, with the support of international drinks groups investing in the sector, while analysts are not predicting any sudden reversal of the category’s decline in recent years, there are fresh opportunities for growth with the hope of stabilisation.



  • More vermouths will launch with a focus on provenance and locally sourced botanicals
  • Premiumisation of traditional liqueurs designed to be sipped. Think Cointreau Noir or Grand Marnier Louis Alexandre
  • Signature cocktail serves will be the key to brand survival



Scotch whisky liqueur Drambuie was bought by William Grant & Sons earlier this year. Its new owners plan to completely redesign the brand to “re-engage” consumers, meaning Drambuie’s new zig-zag bottle and “extraordinary” marketing will eventually be pulled as William Grant plans on “killing” the quirky communication – which drove sales up by 17% in the UK in 2013.



What a year it has been for Aperol, which was named UK supermarket Waitrose’s “drink of the year” after sales of the brand increased 800% over 12 months, as well as securing a three-year sponsorship deal with English football team Manchester United. With western consumers embracing more bitter flavours, there looks set to be an “orange wave” spreading across Europe and the US.



The 2014 FIFA World Cup put cachaça on the map, and since then Brazil’s Cachaça 51 has made a concerted effort to appeal to a more international audience. Despite most of its volumes restricted to its domestic market, the brand launched a new-look website in English and featuring modern cocktail recipes to appeal to export markets.

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