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Campari Looks To Boost Grand Marnier By Emphasizing Link To Cognac

October 27, 2017

Last year, Campari added luxury liqueur Grand Marnier to its portfolio in a deal worth nearly $760 million. Despite being in a transition year, Grand Marnier held steady in 2016 at 488,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank, and was up about 2% in control states through the first eight months of 2017. The U.S. is Grand Marnier’s biggest market by far, accounting for just over half of its volume and 77% of global sales. Campari America is now planning to accelerate the liqueur label’s U.S. progress with a fresh on-premise focus and a new campaign aimed at burnishing its luxury credentials and emphasize its link to the booming Cognac category.

“Grand Marnier has incredible conversion rates once sampled,” says Melanie Batchelor, vice president of marketing at Campari America. “We plan to roll out a new brand campaign that takes us back to our luxury roots.” That effort will debut early next year, and promote Grand Marnier as both a cocktail ingredient and a sipper.

To capture some of the buzz around the Cognac category, Grand Marnier’s message will highlight that the core Cordon Rouge expression is 51% Cognac and 49% distilled bitter orange. “On-premise will continue to be a particular focus as we work to increase trial and reintroduce Grand Marnier to a new generation, many of whom don’t realize that Grand Marnier is more than half Cognac,” Batchelor explains.

While core label Cordon Rouge ($39.99) makes up the majority of the brand’s depletions, Grand Marnier’s portfolio has broadened over the years to include high-end marques that offer higher Cognac content. The brand’s Centenaire ($199.99), Cuvée 1880 ($349.99) and Quintessence ($899.99) extensions all use older eaux-de-vie and tweak the Cognac ratio, going all the way up to 91% Cognac for the Cuvée 1880. Although Cognac’s popularity has reached such a height that some brands—notably Hennessy—are seeing shortages, Grand Marnier master blender Patrick Raguenaud isn’t worried about stocks running dry, citing century-long relationships with grape growers throughout the region. “We have a collection of 450 winegrowers who supply Grand Marnier,” adds Batchelor. “Those strong and genuine relationships are at the core of Grand Marnier’s commercial activities.

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