The liqueur brands to watch in 2017

22nd December, 2016 by Annie Hayes

Despite a sluggish few years, the liqueurs and speciality spirits categories have started to stir – and seem set to take leaps and bounds in 2017.

liqueursGenerally speaking, no other spirits categories rely as heavily on bartenders than liqueurs and speciality spirits – and no bartender truly worth their salt can execute an exceptional cocktail menu without them.

Nevertheless, despite a huge global cocktail renaissance, the world’s top liqueur brands are lagging. Diageo’s Baileys is leading the way through better on-trade visibility, focused media content, sampling activities and trend-led innovation. In fiscal 2016, its net sales grew by 4%, driven by a 9% increase in its biggest market, Europe, with double-digit gains in the UK, Iberia, Germany and Austria.

The brand has just launched ‘Don’t Mind If I Baileys’, the first wave of what Grainne Wafer, global brand director, calls an “extensive strategic and creative repositioning of Baileys” that aims to get the brand “out of the cupboard and into many more glasses”. The introduction of Baileys Pumpkin Spice and gluten-free, dairy-free Baileys Almande will tap into the millennial obsession with wellbeing and fitness.

Meanwhile, there has been an extraordinary surge of interest in bitter flavours, taking Italian spirits and aperitivo hour global, driven by world food influences, experimental palates and an interest in the craft market.

One firm capitalising on this renewed interest is Gruppo Campari, which reported volume gains of 9.26% for Aperol in 2015/16, showing “strong progressions” in high-potential and seedling markets, particularly the US. Volume rose by 1.61% for brand Campari – which has earned a place as the “most used” brand in cocktails in the UK; remarkable considering the firm did not have a distribution arm in the country until 2015.

As unique spirits, flavour profiles and textures continue to pique consumer interest, so mixologists have responded with parameter-pushing serves. One particular sensation sweeping the global cocktail sphere is low-alcohol cocktails – a trend that Tim Carter, senior marketing director, mixables, Beam Suntory, says is well suited to liqueurs, and a “great opportunity” for the De Kuyper brand, which confirmed a sales volume dip of -3.11% in our Brand Champions report this year.

“While the liqueurs category experienced slight declines in 2016, we’ve seen encouraging uptick and renewed interest in the category recently, as mixologists and consumers alike look to revisit classic cocktails and explore unique ways of incorporating liqueurs into their cocktails,” he said. “As on-premise innovation increasingly influences off-premise consumption, we anticipate that consumers will also take to rediscovering how they can use liqueurs at home.”

Euromonitor predicts global liqueur values to grow by 1.9%, with volumes chasing 1.6% in 2016. Whether through capitalising on millennials’ key drivers, exploring the at-home trend or pinning down the next flavour renaissance, it seems likely that liqueurs will shine in 2017.

Click through the following pages to see our pick of the liqueur and speciality spirits brands to watch in 2017.

One Response to “The liqueur brands to watch in 2017”

  1. Brad says:

    Worth looking at for upcoming brands with things from a pecan pie liquer, a silver chocolate creme brûlée tequila to aged whiskies.

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