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St-Germain To Hit 100,000 Cases This Year, Projects 150,000 Cases By End Of 2013

September 12, 2012

Over the past few years, Cooper Spirits International’s St-Germain elderflower liqueur has emerged as a cocktail favorite among bartenders and mixologists. But the brand’s marketers have also been busy developing a significant presence for St-Germain in the off-premise—a trend that’s resulted in significant volume gains for the French brand.

Bolstered by consumer interest in artisanal and craft spirits, St-Germain rose more than 50% last year to reach 65,000 cases, earning its first Impact “Hot Prospect” title. According to Cooper Spirits president Robert Cooper, St-Germain is on track to hit 85,000-90,000 cases in the U.S. and surpass the 100,000-case-mark globally this year.

Introduced in 2007 to the U.S.—where it’s handled by importer Maison 6éme Arr—St-Germain has predictably performed well in major U.S. cities with thriving cocktail scenes, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, among others. But the liqueur has also demonstrated notable strength in some secondary markets like Portland, Seattle, Austin and Nashville, where a “rapidly-developing foodie culture” has paved the way for craft, small-batch products. And while the brand originally targeted sophisticated, professional females, its versatility has broadened its appeal, and it currently attracts both men and older consumers.

Although St-Germain skews toward the on-premise, the brand currently does around 35% of its business in the off-premise. “St-Germain is a hybrid of something that’s artisanal and exciting, but also accessible and approachable,” explains Cooper, citing the brand’s signature cocktail—a combination of Champagne, St-Germain and club soda—as a simple and reliable recipe for consumers at home. “Our off-premise success is due to those accessible aperitifs. We firmly believe in the aperitif occasion, and we’re adamant about conveying that idea.”

As demand for St-Germain grows, however, Cooper Spirits is focused on maintaining its wild elderflower supply in order to meet demand. “It’s challenging to work with,” admits Cooper, explaining that the flowers are hand-harvested by workers who are then paid by the kilo. “But the thing about elderflower is that although it’s not commonly traded, it’s relatively ubiquitous. Throughout western Europe, in the late spring, you’ll find it everywhere. So it’s more about how to collect the flowers rather than how to find them.”

Cooper predicts that St-Germain will continue its trajectory and expects the brand to surpass the 150,000-case-mark globally by the end of 2013. “I think next year, both in the U.S. and worldwide, we’ll grow another 50% at minimum,” he says. “We’re just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of the full potential of St-Germain in the U.S.—it’s exciting for us as a small company with an artisanal and somewhat esoteric product.”

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