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Baileys Gains Momentum, Boosted By Culinary Focus

December 24, 2019

Already the third-largest liqueur brand in the U.S., according to Impact Databank, Diageo-owned Baileys could potentially vie with Jägermeister for the No.-2 spot by year-end. Baileys has had three consecutive years of U.S. volume growth and appears to have accelerated in 2019, with Impact Databank projecting a 6% increase to 1.5 million cases.

Baileys is a bit of an anomaly among the larger liqueur brands in the U.S., with many of its closest competitors facing declines recently. “Our value sales grew 5.7% for the 12 months ending November 2, according to Nielsen, and gained momentum heading into the key holiday season,” says Dorothy DeVenecia, brand director for Baileys and liqueurs at Diageo. DeVenecia adds that beyond the core Irish cream, Baileys Salted Caramel, Pumpkin Spice, and Strawberries & Cream have all contributed to the brand’s progress this year.

The bulk of Baileys’ depletions are in its flagship cream liqueur, which retails in the $20-$30 band and remains popular as an after-dinner drink and a component in coffee- and ice cream-based cocktails. Continuing to connect with the female demographic is a key focus, DeVenecia explains.

“We’ve partnered with restaurants and bars to place Baileys on the menu as an indulgent end to a meal—over ice, over ice cream, or in coffee—after dinner or at brunch,” she tells SND. “In off-premise accounts, we’ve increased Baileys displays and cross-promoted Baileys with key coffee and dessert brands.”

Flavor innovations have also played an important role in recent years. Seasonal and limited-edition offerings like Baileys Pumpkin Spice and Strawberries & Cream have fared well alongside year-round releases like Salted Caramel and Espresso Crème. Baileys newest offshoot is baking-friendly Red Velvet. It marks the first co-branded liqueur in the portfolio, launched in partnership with Georgetown Cupcake, which has been serving up Baileys Red Velvet cupcakes at locations nationwide over the final two months of the year.

The dessert angle also includes tie-ins with key names from the culinary world. “We’ve partnered with culinary and treat-led influencers—from Rachel Ray, to Christina Tosi, to Kelis, to Buzzfeed’s Tasty—to build our credibility in the space,” DeVenecia notes. —Shane English

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