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Liqueur and speciality spirits brands to watch in 2020

Bartenders are redefining liqueurs by creating flavourful offerings, while speciality spirits are benefitting from trends such as coffee and CBD. We name the brands poised for further success in 2019.

One of the most interesting developments in the world of alcoholic beverages actually includes no alcohol at all. The rise of new zero‐ABV ‘spirits’ brands this year has been quite something to behold: Everleaf, Celtic Soul, Aecorn, Caleño, Amplify – and that’s just to name a few.

“In the past 12 months there has been an explosion in interest, activity and launches all over the world, and the ecosystem of the category has now begun to form with events, books, communities, influencers, own‐brand products, retailers, menus, podcasts and even celebrities all now part of its make‐up,” says Ben Branson, Seedlip founder. The company brought out the world’s ‘first’ non‐alcoholic apéritif brand this year, called Aecorn, adding a new dimension to non‐alcoholic beverages.

But while there’s no denying the variety now available in the non‐alcoholic ‘spirits’ category, Branson has concerns about the quality of new entrants joining the fold. “We must have a category built on credibility, quality and the best possible first experience,” he insists. “Sadly, this isn’t currently the case and that isn’t about competition; it’s about the health and sustainability of the space and movement, and it means consistency is required in everything from regulation to language to merchandising to education.

“We need to weed out the copycats, the cheats and those just jumping on the wagon. That means those seeking quality and doing things properly, like Everleaf, Three Spirit, Lucky Saint, Big Drop, Real, Caleño, can all pull together.”

The liqueurs category has also seen diversification this year, most notably with bartending luminaries Alex Kratena, Monica Berg and Simone Caporale teaming up with De Kuyper to create a new range called Muyu. Meanwhile, bartender Marian Beke partnered with Italian spirits producer Casoni to create a savoury liqueurs range.

One liqueurs trend still in fashion is coffee. Riga Black Balsam and Jägermeister joined the coffee revolution this year. Licor 43 introduced a coffee‐flavoured expression in 2018, called Licor 43 Barista, and sees the popularity of coffee‐flavoured drinks continuing well into 2020. “The coffee trend and low‐ABV offerings are current trends that will continue in 2020,” says Julian Fernandez, global marketing and innovation director at Zamora Company, owner of Licor 43.

“We also believe the profession of baristas as experts in their field will continue, as well as the interest in coffee‐based cocktails.”

Click through the following pages to see which brands we believe are ones to watch in the year ahead.

Aecorn Apéritifs

From the team that kick‐started the non‐alcoholic distilled ‘spirits’ movement, Aecorn Apéritifs arrived on the scene this year – thought to be a category first.

The launch has opened up the realms of possibility when it comes to non‐alcoholic cocktails, such as the Nogroni, made with Seedlip Spice 94, Aecorn Aromatic and Aecorn Bitter.

There have been many non‐alcoholic offerings launched this year, but Aecorn was really the first to break the mould – can it carve the same success we’ve seen from Seedlip?


Herbal liqueur Jägermeister has experienced continued year‐on‐year growth since 2014, bolstered by numerous activations and marketing initiatives, such as its collaborations with music festivals during the summer.

In September the German brand tapped into the growing coffee trend with the launch of an expression infused with cold‐brew coffee.

If the brand continues creating dynamic marketing partnerships and on‐trend line extensions, it could be set for another year of growth in 2020.

Top Beverages

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the biggest talking points in the drinks industry right now. That’s what made the range of CBD‐infused spirits from UK drinks producer Top Beverages such an interesting launch.

Each product, which includes CBD‐infused Super Gin, Mocha Rum and Citrus Vodka, is distilled with 50mg of premium full‐spectrum CBD, and bottled at 54.5% ABV.

Top Beverages plans to launch a CBD‐infused ready‐to‐drink range in 2020 – and if the trend continues, it could prove to be a very clever move by the company.

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