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Local Spirits Brand Champion 2020: Mistral

Chilean pisco Mistral is looking to expand beyond its core South American markets

Baijiu continues to be the world’s largest spirit category, yet producers remain loath to share their volumes. In 2019, the retail value of baijiu, as measured by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, was a colossal US$185 billion – bigger than the entire value of all spirits outside of Asia, according to the data analyst.

The spirit is mostly consumed in its native China, where volumes dropped by 10% in 2019, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, thanks to the government and brand owners closing production facilities that were catering to the low end of the market. The spirit continues to grow in value terms, indicating that there is a shift towards premiumisation.

The world’s biggest spirit brand by volume, Jinro soju, increased its lead by 10.6% last year, taking its total volume to 86.3 million cases. But shōchū brands were either stagnant or in decline.

Chilean pisco Mistral also continued its year‐on‐year growth streak last year to take the title of Local Spirits Brand Champion for the second year in a row.

“Chile is our strongest market because pisco is the most‐consumed spirit in Chile,” explains Jorge Benavente Pavez, export manager for Mistral’s parent company, Compañía Pisquera de Chile. “Chileans really identify with pisco, especially with the ‘Piscola’ (pisco and a soft drink), which is kind of our national drink. On the other hand, these days we can see that the trend is all about cocktails, so we’re putting a lot of effort into showing how versatile pisco can be.”

Mistral expanded its portfolio last year with the launch of Mistral Nobel Fire in October 2019. “It’s a marvellous blend that combines a twist of cinnamon with Pisco Mistral Nobel aged for three years in American oak barrels,” Pavez says.

Expanding beyond its core South American markets is a key focus for the brand. “Today, the export business is one of our main priorities. We’re working on it and trying to spread the pisco category worldwide. In the short term, we would like to be present and known in the most recognised markets in the world.”

Attracting a global audience with premium offerings is a common denominator among local spirits. The cachaça sector has long endeavoured to break down international barriers, but both Pitú and Diageo’s Ypióca suffered falls last year, while Cachaça 51 declined to reveal its 2019 volumes because of the current Covid‐19 crisis.

*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.

Local spirits (figures: million 9l case sales)

BRAND OWNER 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 %+/-
Pitú Pitú 10.6 10.9 10.7 10.7 10.6 -0.8%
Ypióca Diageo 4.9 4.8 5.1 4.7 4.5 -3.2%
Mistral Compañía Pisquera de Chile 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.4 4.5%
Yeni Diageo 3.5 3.4 3.4 3.0 2.5 -18.9%
Iichiko Sanwa Shurui 7.8 7.8 7.5 7.2 7.0 -2.0%
Kanoka Asahi Breweries 3.4 3.4 3.3 3.4 3.4 0.0%
Daigoro Asahi Breweries 1.5 1.3 0.9 1.0 1.0 0.0%
Jinro Hite‐Jinro 73.8 74.0 76.8 78.0 86.3 10.6%

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