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Cruises ‘phenomenal opportunity’ for Pernod

The CEO of Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail has singled out the cruise channel as a “phenomenal opportunity” to recruit younger consumers to the company’s portfolio.

Pernod Ricard Mlaibu
Malibu is a key brand for Pernod Ricard in the cruise channel

Speaking to The Spirits Business in Cannes earlier this month, Mohit Lal, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail (GTR), said the cruise sector was a “fantastic opportunity” as the “nature of cruising is changing”.

“So earlier, if you talk about cruising, people associated it with retired people going to spend a couple of lazy days in a ship, right? It’s completely changed; you see a much younger generation,” he said. “There’s a phenomenal opportunity to recruit.”

Lal noted that rum is a “big category in cruise” with the company focusing on driving brands such as Havana Club.

He also cited brands such as Absolut vodka, Jameson Irish whiskey, and rum-based liqueur Malibu, the latter being a “big brand as far as the cruise business is concerned, it’s summery and edgy”, Lal explained. The company is also looking at driving its gin brands in the channel.

‘Consumption experience’

Lal also noted the emergence of ‘premium’ cruises, with Virgin Voyages launching an adults-only ship. “It’s a much more mature audience, and there you’re able to list more premium products,” he added.

“It’s a great place to build brands because once you’re on a cruise ship you have a captive audience. So if you’ve got 1,000 passengers partying every night, and if your brands are there, then it’s a great way to introduce your brand.

“It’s different from retail, which is a shopping experience. Cruise is a consumption experience, and we are starting to accelerate the way we address cruises.”

Sustainability is also a key focus for Pernod Ricard in the GTR channel. Lal noted that the cruise industry can come “under pressure for not working in the most sustainable fashion”.

“We tried to see how we can drive sustainability in cruises, to have conversations about waste and disposable waste, and rather than supplying individual bottles to start to get bulk packaging,” said Lal.

“We have some technology that is working, including bulk packaging which also guarantees quality because the moment you get away from standard packs you have an issue of counterfeit products.”

In July, Pernod Ricard GTR revealed its Ecogift tool, which analyses the carbon footprint of a gift with purchase.

Chivas Regal owner Pernod Ricard saw its travel retail sales soar by 48% in fiscal 2022, following a ‘rapid rebound’ in international travel. Recovery was ‘exceptionally strong’ in Europe and the Americas.

The company expects its travel retail profit to return to pre-pandemic levels by its 2023 full year.

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