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SB meets… Daniel Redondo, Casa Redondo

The CEO of Casa Redondo reveals all about the firm’s recent rebrand, its plans for Licor Beirão and its new televised bartending competition.

Daniel Redondo - Casa Redondo
Daniel Redondo is the third generation of the Redondo family to work in the business

You rebranded from Liquid Company to Casa Redondo last year – what were your motivations for doing so?

We’re a family business – I’m the third generation. My grandfather started the business in 1940, during the Second World War. We created a distribution unit here in Portugal in 2012, and we recently renamed it Casa Redondo. We assumed the family name as our principal, and ‘casa’ is something international that everybody understands – we want to transmit something relatable to our partners and consumers. We expect them to feel at home when they have our product.

You’re both a distiller and a distributor – what brands do you distill?

We distill Licor Beirão, which is the number-one spirit in Portugal. That was the start of the business. My grandfather is from very humble origins and started working at around 12 or 13 years old. He had many jobs. In 1940, he was selling typewriters, but when we entered the Second World War, the company had to create arms. Suddenly, my grandfather was unemployed.

He knew that a small local distillery was bankrupt and about to close. He proposed to my grandmother and said: “If you marry me, I’ll buy the distillery and we’ll both work there.” This distillery had many different brands and Beirão was one of them. My grandfather was a very good marketeer, so he started doing advertising right away. He invested all of his money and borrowed money from his family to invest in marketing. That was quite bold – even today, many companies save money on marketing when it is crucial for creating brands. Because of that, the brand became very well-known in Portugal – every Portuguese person knows Licor Beirão.

My father then joined the business and is still part of it today. My brother and I joined at the beginning of this century, and we started renewing the brand. It was getting a bit old – my grandfather had got older and the communication aged with him.

We tried out new things. By 2007, Beirão became the number-one spirit in Portugal. In Portugal, the top spirits category is whisky – Scotch whisky – then flavoured spirits, brandy, gin and vodka. But Beirão was able to become the number-one spirit in 2007 and has been number one since then.

Licor Beirão
Licor Beirão distillery

Are you trying to reposition Licor Beirão as a more modern drink as part of your rebrand?

It’s a historical brand – almost 100 years old – so we need to update it in a certain way. If we don’t, it will become irrelevant or lose appeal to a newer audience. We produce only Beirão at this property, so we are very careful about managing the brand.

You’ve had great success in Portugal – how do you plan to introduce Licor Beirão to a non-Portuguese market?

We are trying to take advantage of Portugal being ‘trendy’ right now. People know more about Portugal and our lifestyle. We have a very equilibrated lifestyle – we enjoy socialisation and simple stuff like being together, having a drink or going for dinner. Europe and North America are getting to know about that lifestyle, and we are trying to sail on that opportunity.

We will also need to adapt our strategy for each country. We are launching a TV campaign in the Netherlands, and another campaign in Brazil. We are preparing some activations in Germany. We are investing in markets where we have stronger distribution partners.

Have there been any key milestones since the announcement of the rebrand?

Not particularly – we are currently making sure that we have changed everything. We have a lot of materials and brand assets. We are making the transition, but it takes time.

However, this Saturday, we are launching a TV competition for Beirão. It’s the world’s first mixology competition on mainstream TV. There are a couple of competitions like this on Netflix or cable TV, but this one is the first on a mainstream channel.

We’ve already recorded it with a very strong producer. There are 10 bartenders and there will be different tasks during five episodes that will lead to the winner. We’ve held this competition for quite a few years, but this year, we decided to put it on TV.

We’re hoping to spotlight bartenders – they don’t have much visibility in Portugal. We believe there is a long way to go. Bartenders will be able to show on TV what they can do – all the art of mixology and their tricks. People have no idea that to make a really nice cocktail there is a lot of work involved.

Besides the title – which we believe is very important – the winner will get a prize of two weeks’ training at a bartending school in New York. We’ve done this to help increase knowledge in Portugal.

Other than Beirão, which products do you distribute?

We have some of the most relevant Portuguese brands – such as Per Se, which is an aperitif. That has been quite successful. We are working with the brand in Milan, Germany, Denmark and in the Nordics. It is going very well in Finland.

In some markets, we also have Amarguinha, which is a bitter almond liqueur; Foxtale, which is the number one premium gin in Portugal; and a wide portfolio of brandy.

We are looking for more international brands to strengthen this portfolio. We are strong as a distributor in Portugal, and we want to have international brands.

We are a family business and we are strong in our own market. We really hope that we can bring this knowledge to an international audience. That’s our focus. We know this is a marathon, not a sprint. We are in it for the long run. I tell everybody in the team that we need to make sure that we leave the company in a better shape for the next generation. We always have this perspective – not only internally with our team, but also with our partners, our providers and clients. We believe in long-term relationships. We need to make sure that we keep on doing well and we don’t fail. That’s our culture and our philosophy.

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