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Aperol, Campari Benefit As Consumer Palates Continue To Evolve

December 30, 2019

As U.S. consumers continue to widen their repertoires and explore increasingly diverse taste profiles, Campari America has been capitalizing with its array of liqueurs and bitters, led by the Aperol and Campari labels. Aperol and Campari now combine for more than 300,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank, and they show no sign of slowing from their rapid pace of recent years.

The on-premise continues to be key for both Italian brands, according to Melanie Batchelor, vice president of marketing at Campari America. “Affinity for bitter flavors and low-abv products are among the trends driving the liqueurs category,” Batchelor tells SND. “Bitter brands are growing right now, driven by interest from both consumers and bartenders.”

Aperol ($26 a 750-ml.) surged 60% to 160,000 cases in the U.S. last year, and has continued to expand by double-digits, with net sales up 45% in the first nine months of 2019. Growth is being propelled by signature cocktail the Aperol Spritz. “With its low alcohol content, distinct flavor, and bright orange color, the Aperol Spritz is the perfect cocktail for daytime drinking occasions,” Batchelor says.

Campari’s namesake brand ($29 a 750-ml.) also rose by double-digits in the U.S. in the nine months through September, building on its 2018 base of 140,000 cases. In September, Campari released Cask Tales, a new expression finished in Bourbon barrels. The extension is aimed firmly at the luxury end of the market, priced at $70 a 1-liter bottle. Batchelor notes that Cask Tales serves as a way to introduce brown spirits drinkers to the Campari brand.

At the high end, Campari-owned Grand Marnier leads the liqueurs market’s above-$30 tier. The brand has hovered at around 520,000 cases lately. “The Grand Marnier range is doing well, with success driven by our core Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge and the new Cuvée Louis-Alexandre,” says Batchelor. She adds that as consumers become familiar with the brand, Campari America is seeing an increase in trading up to Grand Marnier’s Cuvée Collection of luxury priced, Cognac-forward liqueurs.

Elsewhere in the portfolio, Campari is looking to arrest the slide of Frangelico, its hazelnut-flavored liqueur, while seeding growth on its diverse range of bitter liqueurs and amari like Averna, Braulio, and Cynar. While those brands remain modest in size, they’re well-positioned to carve out a bigger niche in the years ahead as consumer palates continue to grow more sophisticated.—Shane English

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