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Speciality Spirits Brand Champion 2018: Aperol

The trend for low-abv has boosted Aperol’s growth

As consumers seek out lower-­abv alternatives, the speciality spirits category has experienced a resurgence in popularity. Health-­conscious drinkers have played well into the hands of Gruppo Campari­-owned Aperol, which experienced high double-­digit growth last year, earning it the title of 2018 Speciality Spirits Brand Champion.

“The potential for growth is very huge,” enthuses Andrea Neri, Gruppo Campari’s managing director of Italian icons. “The brand’s expansion has been helped by a global consumer trend of easy low-alcoholic drinking.”

In 2017, the Italian drinks producer reported full­-year sales of €1.82bn (US$2.1bn), driven by the group’s key brands of Aperol and Campari, with the latter achieving growth of 4.3% in 2017.

While Aperol has experienced strong growth in European markets such as Italy, Germany and France, as well as in the US, Neri says there is room for further growth in the UK and beyond.

“The UK is a high­-potential market for Aperol because it is one of the fastest growing brands in the country,” explains Neri. “Among other high-potential markets for the brand worth mentioning are Canada, Brazil and Australia.”

In such a diverse category, the brand has selected three areas it must focus on to stand out: identifying new occasions for drinkers to enjoy Aperol, a focus on on-­premise events, and a drive to “de­-seasonalise” the brand and make it a year­-round drink.

Neri says: “With its sparkling bittersweet taste, bright orange colour and its low-­alcohol content, Aperol is the apéritif of choice for a growing share of consumers. Aperol is on the front line of this category as it was born an apéritif.”

Across the board, speciality spirits saw positive results last year. Jägermeister remained the top­-selling bitters brand after its sales grew by 1.4% to bring figures back in line with 2013, while Fernet-­Branca recovered from a dip in 2016 to see its sales rise to 5.3m cases. However, Aperol continues to be the strongest performer for Gruppo Campari, says Neri.

“Over the past year, the brand has been growing consistently in its core and high­-potential markets,” explains Neri. “Aperol’s identity is an integral part of our business model for the brand, and next year we will have one more reason to celebrate as it will be Aperol’s 100th anniversary.”

*The Brand Champions data is listed to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied. All brand data is supplied in millions of nine-­litre cases.

Speciality spirits (figures: million 9l case sales)

BRAND OWNER 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 %+/­-
Ricard Pernod Ricard 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.6 4.6 0.0%
Jägermeister Mast­-Jägermeister 7.2 6.8 6.9 7.1 7.2 1.4%
Fernet­-Branca Fratelli Branca 5.0 5.2 5.3 5.1 5.3 2.3%
Aperol Gruppo Campari 2.6 2.7 3.0 3.4 4.0 17.6%
Campari Gruppo Campari 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 4.3%
Ramazzotti Pernod Ricard 1.3 1.2 1.3 1.2 1.2 0.0%
Martini Bacardi 10.8 9.9 9.4 8.9 8.7 -1.7%

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