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St-Germain’s Success Attracts Rival Interest In Elderflower Liqueur Segment

March 11, 2013

On the heels of St-Germain’s success, the elderflower liqueur category is gaining some traction in the U.S., where cocktail trends have helped boost its status among consumers. Players such as the U.K.’s Chase Distillery and New England distributor M.S. Walker Inc. are also making headway with their respective Chase Elderflower liqueur and St. Elder entries.

St-Germain ($30-$35 a 750-ml.) remains by far the elderflower market’s dominant player, projected to hit the 150,000-case mark globally this year and currently at around 90,000 cases in the U.S. Formerly owned by Cooper Spirits International, the brand was acquired by Bacardi in January.

Chase, launched on the West Coast roughly three years ago, retails at $29.99 and is now available in Chicago and across the East Coast, including the New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia markets. It has emerged as the craft company’s most popular offering and is currently at around 20,000 cases in the U.S. Chase Distillery founder William Chase predicts 50% growth for the liqueur in 2013, adding that the distillery recently planted 20 new hectares (49.4 acres) of elderflower bushes. “We see (the elderflower phenomenon) as an ongoing trend.”

M.S. Walker, meanwhile, launched its domestic St. Elder entry last week, at $19.99 a bottle. Currently available in Texas, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Rhode Island with national distribution on the way, the brand is targeted to reach 10,000 cases this year, according to Michael Brody, M.S. Walker’s vice president of sales. “We feel at our price point, St. Elder will do well at retail,” says Brody. The liqueur, which was developed as a standalone brand, will be marketed under the tagline “Mixes Well With Others & Remarkably Versatile.”

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