Close Menu
Top 10

Top eight best-selling liqueur brands

Liqueurs are recovering from stagnant sales as growing interest in cocktails and low-alcohol options give a much needed boost to the category. Here, we present its best-selling brands.

SB reveals the best-selling liqueur brands in 2017
SB reveals the best-selling liqueur brands in 2017

The global liqueurs sector posted a 0.8% gain in 2017 to 107.8m cases, according to market research provider Euromonitor International, as drinking trends turned in its favour.

Just two million­-case-­plus liqueur brands witnessed a decline in 2017, The Spirits Business‘s Brand Champions data has revealed.

Some brands experienced starkly different fortunes: Distell’s Amarula brand posted a 10.6% increase, while Žołądkowa Gorzka witnessed a double-digit drop.

Following our recently published Brand Champions 2018 report – an analysis of the spirits brands selling more than one million cases annually – we run through the world’s best-selling liqueur brands on the market today.

Click through the following pages to discover the top eight best-selling liqueur brands listed in order of their nine-litre case sales.

Data is listed to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied to The Brand Champions 2018.

8. Cointreau

2017: 1.2m
2016: 1.1m
% change: 1.8%
Place last year: 7

Cointreau, owned by French drinks group Rémy Cointreau, witnessed a steady increase of 1.8% last year. In the company’s full fiscal year, Cointreau’s performance was “solid”, with gains in the US and France, as well as “new” markets including Greater China and Russia.

In 2017, the group embarked on a £1m marketing campaign to enhance the footprint of Cointreau in the UK.

The future could become even brighter for the orange liqueur with the launch of a global marketing campaign based on its new slogan: ‘The Art of the Mix’. The campaign aims to give a “breath of vigour and modernity to the brand”.

7. Amarula

2017: 1.2m

2016: 1.1m
% change: 10.5%
Place last year: 8

Distell-owned cream liqueur Amarula returned to growth last year, with a double-digit increase of 10.5%. The brand was boosted by “good” growth in Taiwan and Latin America.

Speaking to The Spirits Business in August last year, Richard Rushton, managing director of Distell, said: “We believe the prospects of growing the Amarula brand, both in and around the cream category, will be an incredibly important part of our business.”

The brand is continuing its efforts to protect African elephants with the launch of a US campaign, called Don’t Let Them Disappear.

6. Žołądkowa Gorzka

2017: 1.4m

2016: 1.5m
% change: -10.0%
Place last year: 6

Stock Spirits Group’s Žołądkowa Gorzka saw a sharp double-digit decrease of -10% to 1.4m cases.

However, for the wider group, stabilisation in the Polish market boosted total revenues 2017. Profit suffered and more than halved in the year.

Mirek Stachowicz, CEO, said “2017 was a year of stabilisation” for the group. The company’s Polish market was the “top priority” for the year and could help to boost the brand’s sales in 2018.

5. Lubelska

2017: 1.5m

2016: 1.4m
% change: 14.7%
Place last year: 5

It was a very different story for Žołądkowa Gorzka’s stablemate Lubelska, which reported an increase of 14.7% in 2017 – the highest growth rate across the category.

Last year, parent Stock Spirits established new distribution agreements with Beam Suntory in the Czech and Slovakia market, and with Beluga Group in Croatia and Bosnia, which could help further boost the brand’s sales in 2018.

The group also recently added two new flavours to the Lubelska line – a pear and a blackberry expression. The new additions will “bring added colour and fun to a wide variety of consumer drinking occasions”.

4. Kahlua

2017: 1.6m

2016: 1.5m
% change: 6.7%
Place last year: 4

Pernod Ricard-owned rum and coffee liqueur Kahlua reported a 6.7% increase in 2017, which could be attributed to the rising popularity of coffee-flavoured cocktails. The liqueur sits within Pernod Ricard’s local strategic brands, and is the stablemate to rum liqueur Malibu.

Kahlúa was created in Mexico in 1936 and uses 100% Arabica coffee beans grown on the high plateaus of Veracruz.

3. De Kuyper

2017: 2.0m

2016: 2.2m
% change: -5.9%
Place last year: 3

Dutch drinks group De Kuyper’s namesake liqueur line saw its volumes drop for the first time in three years, with a decrease of 5.9%.

Earlier this year, De Kuyper introduced a new packaging design for its namesake range, and unveiled two new flavours: pineapple and peach.

Speaking to The Spirits Business in October 2015, CEO Mark de Witte spelled out his “strategic roadmap” for the brand, claiming that liqueurs will retain their “very important” positioning.

The group recently signed a distribution deal in Italy and unveiled coffee liqueur Bébo as it seeks to grow its strategy of ‘owning the cocktail’.

2. Malibu

2017: 3.7m

2016: 3.6m
% change: 2.8%
Place last year: 2

Last year’s Liqueur Brand Champion, Malibu, has witnessed steady growth over the past few years to post a 2.8% increase in 2017.

The Pernod Ricard-owned rum liqueur launched its global Because Summer campaign in 2016, designed to capitalise on the brand’s “summer-centric” positioning. Earlier this year, Malibu invited singer Nick Jonas and more than 30 global influencers to Vietnam for the inaugural Malibu Games as part of the campaign.

Colin Kavanagh, global VP of marketing for Malibu, said at the time: “Our strategy to own summer, and doing so by consistently reinventing ourselves and our campaign platform #BecauseSummer, has proven very successful.

“Last year we introduced our unique influencer model and it’s something we’re now eager to build on for this year’s campaign.”

The company also recently created an additional 300,000 Malibu ‘smart bottles’ with near field communication (NFC) technology to offer a “direct, digital touchpoint for consumers”.

1. Baileys

2017: 6.9m

2016: 6.4m
% change: 7.8%
Place last year: 1

The world’s best-selling liqueur, Baileys, is also our Liqueur Brand Champion 2018, posting a strong 7.8% increase. It seems likely that the brand will break the 7m case mark this year.

Brand owner Diageo has created a number of line extension in recent years, including gluten-free and dairy-free Almande, a ready-to-drink ice coffee duo, and a strawberries and cream flavour. 

However, it was the brand’s core expression which led volume growth last year.

Baileys’ positive performance has also been attributed to its most recent marketing effort, which aimed to position the Irish cream liqueur as an “adult treat” and open up more drinking occasions for consumers.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No