Unmissable spirits at IAADFS 2016By Kristiane Sherry
A must-attend event for the travel retail community, the IAADFS Duty Free Show of the Americas is back. Here are the spirits brands you don’t want to miss.
*This feature was initially published in the March 2016 issue of The Spirits Business magazine
From the Florida sunshine to the vast spectrum of products across the exhibition show floor, there are plenty of reasons to take part in the IAADFS Duty Free Show of the Americas, held at the Orlando World Center Marriott, this year from 3-6 April. For those looking for another, this year the event organisers have added in a half-day education session on the Monday morning, a welcome addition for the 2,800 or so delegates expected at the event.
Speakers at the session include Angela Gittens, Airports Council International director-general, who will give an overview of the state of the travel industry and the ramifications for travel retail and duty free. She will be joined by Peter Mohn, owner and CEO of industry analyst, m1nd-set, as he shares findings from a number of new surveys looking at traveller purchasing habits in North America and the Caribbean.
According to IAADFS organisers, early indicators point to a “very successful” 2016 show, with around 95% of the available exhibition space booked.
While “most” 2015 exhibitors have renewed their space, new spirits names to look out for include Global Premium Vodka, Minhas Micro Distillery and Brewing, and United States Distilled Products.
“We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and supportive base of exhibitors returning year after year,” said IAADFS executive director, Michael Payne.
“At the same time, it is great to welcome so many new exhibitors whose unique products and services add value to what is already a very vibrant industry.”
Vibrant and varied
The Americas is arguably one of the most diverse TR regions in terms of purchasing opportunity. While airport infrastructure has a reputation leaning towards the geriatric, fresh investment is breathing new life into the channel – just look to Vancouver and LAX, and south to Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Asuncion’s Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Paraguay. Air passenger traffic is seeing healthy growth (Latin America-Caribbean grew 5.5% and North America by 5.6% in 2015, according to ACI figures), which is surely set to continue as the raft of airport expansion and improvement work comes to fruition.
But it’s not just airports: the network of well-developed border stores in the region is offering a boost to spirits brands – and the wider category spectrum (see page 64). Then factor in the Caribbean’s cruise industry (which accounts for around a third of the global market, according to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association) and it’s no surprise the region outperformed Europe (-9.3%) and the Middle East (+0.1%) to grow travel retail sales +1.9% for the first half of 2015 (according to TFWA/Generation, US dollar reporting). 1.9% might seem paltry compared with Asia Pacific’s 6.5%, but for a largely mature market, the figures show a resilience.
“The Americas is a vital region for our travel retail business as it benefits from both developed markets in North America as well as a strong emerging class in central and South America,” confirms Diageo’s Matthieu Comard, regional director, GT Americas.
“This allows us to drive growth across our global brands like Johnnie Walker as well as more local brands like Crown Royal and Buchanan’s.”
Of course, there are challenges. Every respondent for this feature cited currency fluctuations as a serious business concern. “The strength of the US dollar has added pressure to Americas travel retail,” said Stoli Group’s Dayna Dennington regional director North & Central America – Caribbean duty free. “However with a consistent pricing message that still provides value, engaging activations and enhanced brand awareness, Stoli and elit by Stolichnaya have both been able to drive growth in challenging market conditions.”
William Grant’s Stephen Corrigan echoes the sentiment: “The strong US dollar, and other regional and global currency exchanges are most definitely major issues. Additionally the economic situations in China and Russia have provided headwinds.
“Now, the Zika virus is global bad news. We will work to counter these in the same way we have in the past, which is through listening to and working closely with our retailer partners.”
But it’s far from all doom and gloom, as SB’s roster of spirits exhibitors shows. Read on for a round-up of what to expect in Orlando.
While wine is a major focus for Constellation Brands at this year’s IAADFS, Svedka Vodka and Cara Noble Tequila will also be showcased on-stand, says Randy Dufour, vice president travel retail.
“IAADFS provides a great forum to meet with existing partners and customers as well as new potential partners,” Dufour continues.
“For us, we have a good foundation in North America, but see a lot of potential and opportunities in Latin America, particularly Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to round out our global travel retail presence.”
In the Americas, premiumisation continues to be a bellwether, he explains. “But as travellers become more savvy, we have to adapt and make sure that our product offer is relevant and adds value – not necessarily lower-prices, but enhanced value. We can help add value by engaging our customers and also providing unique channel exclusive products. Tailoring the offer to the local market is essential.”
Head to the Constellation Brands stand for sampling and programme updates from across the product portfolio.
Behn Group’s Danzka is back at the IAADFS Duty Free Show of the Americas with its “best travelling” vodka, says Torben Vedel Andersen, global sales director. “Global DF/TR is our core market and the Americas are a traditional important region.”
He identifies multipack offers as an emerging trend for the region, and as such has introduced a “light and practical” 4 x 1 litre pack expected to “work especially well in border shops”, according to the company.
Dooley’s The Original Toffee Cream liqueur will also be on-stand. The company says it has strengthened its position during the past year in Europe, Asia, and South America, with a number of new flavour variants, including Dooley’s White Chocolate with Wild Berries, added to the portfolio.
Stand: CRYSTAL J1
With IAADFS a “big date in the calendar” for Diageo, the firm is heading to Orlando to showcase its Johnnie Walker House concept, says Matthieu Comard, regional director, GT Americas.
As Diageo GTME’s “network of international whisky boutiques”, three Johnnie Walker Houses have opened since 2014 – in Taiwan, Mumbai and Singapore. “The first two boutiques have exceeded sales targets by 30% so we know the unique and luxurious shopping format works,” Comard says.
Although Air4Cast 2015 research shows that global passenger figures will double from one to two billion by 2030, the industry is currently seeing reduced spend, Comard continues. “However the US has continued to show strong signs of recovery over the last 12 months, with an annualised GDP growth rate of 3.7% at the midway point of 2015 (CIR 2015). In order to combat this trend, we are activating new promotional strategies and investing in innovation to enable us to deliver an engaging offering for each and every shopper. For example, in the Americas we have a live promotion running where consumers receive a discount across our portfolio if they spend a certain amount, rather than a discount on one particular brand.”
The Americas is a “very strong” region for Fraternity Spirits, says CEO Raffaele Berardi. “The Tequila category is seeing exceptional growth in the region, both in domestic and travel retail so [IAADFS] is an ideal opportunity for us to expand our distribution. Our brands 99,000 Horas, El Ron Prohibido and Los Arango have also seen particularly strong growth in the region.”
An on-stand highlight will be the Special Edition Tequila Corralejo Gift Box, designed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the company’s hero product, Corralejo. The Gift Box features illustrations of Hacienda Corralejo and is created as the “ultimate gift for any tequila lover”.
“Imports of Tequila in America have been growing year after year for over a decade and we want to be at the forefront of this growth,” Berardi adds. “We will continue to work on expanding our portfolio of tequilas to provide travellers with an exceptional range to choose from and experience – whether that is flavoured Tequila liqueurs or our new anniversary pack.”
Fraternity will also be showcasing Los Arango Cream and Coffee Tequila and Rives Pink Gin, which was launched at the Americas Show in 2015. Visitors to the stand will be able to sample the products in a variety of cocktails.
Stand: 923 (WEBB)
Italian drinks group Illva Saronno has been putting extra emphasis on travel retail since 2013, so it makes sense to be present at industry events such as IAADFS, says Domenico Toni, international sales director. “This show provides us with the perfect opportunity to present our brands to the top travel retail players in the Americas, via our agent WEBB, to catch up with existing clients, and hopefully gain some new ones.”
On-stand, the key product focus will be the new limited edition Roberto Cavalli Disaronno bottle, influenced by undersea and safari scenes. “Listed in key hubs across the Americas, the limited edition bottle is supported by high visibility merchandising and exciting in store activations. It is a stunning, unique design giving it untold shelf presence, this new bottle is already proving very popular and flying off the shelves,” continues Toni.
Since partnering with WEBB two years ago, Illva Saronno has seen “significant growth” in its brands. The Caribbean region is posting high single-digit gains, reports Toni, with Tia Maria showing “very strong growth” in Jamaica duty free.
Looking forward, the company is planning more high-profile activations, such as the recent wall space takeover at JFK T1.
IAADFS is an “essential and unmissable” event for La Martiniquaise-Bardinet, says Bardinet international brand manager Laure Habbouse.
It is a key opportunity to meet partners, present the products and highlight the activity of the whole group, she adds. “Our focus is the push of our strategic brands – Label 5 and Sir Edward’s blended Scotch, Poliakov vodka,
Beehive French Brandy – and to showcase our new Glen Moray range,” she explains.
“Travel retail is a fast-growing activity. We are targeting mainly airports and Scotch consumers mostly in Central America, Mexico.”
The La Martiniquaise-Bardinet stand will feature a bartender serving cocktails, offering a taste of the company’s spirits portfolio.
Russian drinks business Ladoga Group is well known within the super-premium category, and will use IAADFS to showcase its Imperial Collection Super Premium Vodka as well as a prestigious new Cognac.
Fresh for 2016 is the 40-year-old Imperial Collection Cognac Hors d’Age Grande Champagne 1er Cru de Cognac. The product is positioned alongside the Imperial Collection Vodkas and presented in the same packaging, inspired by the work of Carl Fabergé. Its decanter and glasses are made from Venetian glass, finished with elegant gilding. The surface of the egg-shaped packaging is covered with onyx-coloured enamel to protect the Cognac within.
The liquid itself has been selected by the cellar master at Roullet Cognac House, who deemed that the 1975 Cognac was at its best. According to Ladoga Group, the “multi-dimensional” millésimé is amber in colour with aromas of “sandalwood, spices, dried fruits, nuts, licorice, bitter orange, mango and chocolate”.
Only 2,500 eggs and decanters have been produced, with the Cognac currently available in France, Russia and Japan.
Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits
The 2016 edition of IAADFS promised to be a special occasion for Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits [MBWS], as the company presents itself in its “new guise” to customers in the region for the first time, says global travel retail director, Kevin Baker.
The drinks group changed its name from Belvédère in July 2015 as it continued a ‘normalisation plan’ that saw it return to growth.
“Travel retail in the Americas will play an important role in our channel strategy by providing a platform for the consistent global communication of MBWS brands,” he says, adding that Marie Brizard Liqueurs and the company’s new-look Gautier Cognac brand will be key on-stand focuses.
“Duty free outlets seem to be reducing the number of new and different liquor products on offer, so there is little differentiation between them, and not much that is exciting for travellers. Most of the stores look alike today – we think that provides a huge opportunity for dynamic retailers to start thinking about creating more exciting and engaging wine and spirits offers,” Baker continues.
Customers are welcome to join the MBWS team on-stand to sample from the company’s range.
Distribution and marketing firm Monarq Group is exhibiting in Orlando for another year, but this time with an extended, upgraded booth, says founder Robert de Monchy.
“The IAADFS is the most important show of the year for us, it’s a market place where we meet and greet our customers from the Americas and suppliers from all over the world. This year we are celebrating our 10th anniversary as a company, so it will be a very special show for us.”
It’s been a busy year for Monarq, with a number of new brands added to the portfolio. The line-up of independent single malt Scotch whiskies now includes Tomatin and Tamdhu, while the company will also launch Del Maguey Mezcal into travel retail. “In addition, we are really excited by the Quintessential Brands’ range of premium and super premium gins, like Greenall’s, Opihr Oriental Spiced London Dry Gin and Bloom London Dry Gin,” says de Monchy. “We are also rolling out the new Thomas Dakin London Dry Gin, made and named in honor of the originator of London Dry Gin. Continuing on that gin trend is Bols Genever 1820. With genever being the predecessor of the gin category, we are seeing a real resurgence in demand for our genevers.”
Patrón is heading to IAADFS with “a lot of great news to share with our duty free partners”, says Stephane Gonzalez, duty free director for the Americas. This includes new Tequila products and packaging, opportunities for staff training and learning, and other innovations – including cutting-edge tech.
“We’re excited to demonstrate our ‘Art of Patrón Virtual Reality Experience’ at the show this year,” Gonzalez adds. The immersive experience utilises Oculus technology to transport people beyond the show floor. “[It’s an] unforgettable 360-degree sensorial journey through the sights and sounds of the Patrón production process at the distillery in Mexico, witnessing first-hand the care and attention to detail that goes into every bottle of Patrón.”
Product-wise, the entire Patrón portfolio will be on display, including travel retail exclusives: the 1-litre formats, Patrón Extra Añejo and the Roca Patrón line of “artisanal” Tequilas.
“Our primary focus is to launch the new 1-litre size duty free exclusive. Global travel retail will be the only channel where consumers can find our entire core line of Tequilas and liqueurs in this larger size.”
Rémy Cointreau Travel Retail Americas
With its long history of supplying spirits to the Americas, Rémy Cointreau Travel Retail is an established brand at the annual Orlando show. “We will be consolidating our partnerships with existing customers at this year’s show and talking to a few new people from the developing markets in the Americas. The 2016 edition will also be the time to reveal our brand new booth,” reveals Sebastien Devallet, regional director GTR, Rémy Cointreau Americas.
The first two expressions in the travel retail exclusive Rémy Martin Cellar Master’s Selection, launched in Europe and Asia last year, will be key focuses at the event. “The North American market is very keen on high quality Cognac, particularly those with heritage and proven pedigree. The line will also be supported by the new media campaign ‘One life / Live them”, Devallet adds, highlighting the initiative which features actor Jeremy Renner (above).
Continuing on the Cognac theme, 1738 and Rémy Club will also be showcased, along with the Bruichladdich whisky portfolio, The Botanist gin, and the three
Cointreau variants: Classic, Cointreau Blood Orange and Cointreau Noir.
Stand: 1111 (Chase International)
Having notched up an impressive 130% growth in US duty free with its elit by Stolichnaya brand, Stoli Group will touch down in Orlando off the back of a stellar year.
“The Americas represent an important strategic geography for our overall TR business, allowing Stoli to engage with a wide audience as well as leverage strong domestic market awareness and performance,” explained Dayna Dennington, regional director North & Central America – Caribbean duty free. “In 2015 Stoli experienced strong growth in the cruise line channel with new placements and menus gained. We see this channel as a high-growth area for 2016 and will continue to concentrate our energies through strategic partnerships and enhanced passenger experiences with the Stolichnaya brand.”
The core range of Stolichnaya skus will be on-stand, as the group gears up for the year. “Stoli will focus on specific high-growth channels, cruise lines specifically, to continue our positive momentum,” Dennington continues. “While airports will remain a part of our strategy we are concentrating our efforts with elit by Stolichnaya on the high-spending duty free customer looking for luxury products by offering them a superior product through exclusive brand engagement.”
A long-time IAADFS exhibitor, Underberg Group returns to Orlando for another year to continue to develop existing and new duty free, travel retail and domestic business, says Martyn Bignell, area director for North America, UK and Ireland.
“We will be presenting our entire portfolio with featured displays of Underberg Natural Herbal digestive, Asbach brandy, Xuxu Strawberry-pulp drink and Brasilberg,” he explains, adding that independent operators are a key target.
Underberg has identified outlets across the Americas as having “the potential to provide our brands with significant expose to the domestic and international travellers from around the world,” he continues.
“Premiumisation is probably the major trend within the travel market. Our entire portfolio is based on quality, unique characteristics and packaging design.”
William Grant & Sons
Stand: 100, 110
For Steve Corrigan, regional director at William Grant & Sons, IAADFS is a must-attend event each year. “We find it a valuable show to showcase our portfolio and to meet with our regional and global partners,” he explains.
The core brand portfolio is key at the show, but the 2016 stand will have a particular focus on the Grant’s Elementary range and newly introduced House of Hazelwood.
“In 2016 we have secured an additional space next to our main stand on which to present the Grants Elementary range. There will be product information and sampling all week and we hope to see many of your readers there tasting some of our outstanding Grants Elementary products,” Corrigan says.
He describes the Americas as a “key strategic region”, and one which requires a tailored portfolio and activation focus depending on location. “For the Americas, our focus is always to grow our core brands with emphasis in the single malt and premium gin categories,” he says.