Sector Insight: Liquers

Jack Daniels Christmas advert
Jack Daniels Christmas advert

While the sector benefits from increased in-home drinking, consumers' perception of liquers as primarily a sweet, after-dinner drink appears to be restricting sales growth.

Five Key Trends

Drinking at home. The shift to increased in-home drinking has benefited liqueurs with their greater proportion of sales (about 80%) in the off-trade than the on-trade.

Heritage. Many liqueur brands have a rich heritage. As consumers increasingly want to know about the provenance of products, this could be focused on in marketing.

Drinking occasions. Historically seen as an after-dinner tipple, liqueurs need to appeal to different drinking occasions as after-dinner drinks of this type are falling out of favour.

Branding. With the exception of a couple of a few strong brands such as Baileys, this category is poorly branded so many drinkers are unfamiliar with the products.

Static. Overall market growth in liqueurs has remained fairly static for the past six years; in 2011 sales were at £748 million or 29m litres.

Core drinkers. The main liqueur drinkers are 18 – 24 year olds, perhaps because younger drinkers tend to prefer sweeter drinks. Consumption then decreases with age.

Source: Mintel.

Penetration of liquers (%)

Source: GB TGI, Kantar Media UK Ltd Q3 2007-11 (Apr-Mar)/Mintel Base: Taken from the TGI survey around 25,000 adults aged 18+

Occassions on which people drink or would be prepared to drink liquers October 2011 (%)

Source: Toluna/Mintel Base: 1270 internet users aged 18+ who drink alcohol


The Industry's Main Players

Andy Fennell, chief marketing officer, Diageo

Fennell has been chief marketing office at Diageo since September 2008. Highly experienced in the drinks industry — both soft and alcoholic — he has worked in international markets and played a key role in introducing responsible drinks marketing as well as marketing in the digital arena. Fennell also oversaw the restructure of Diageo’s marketing department changing the focus from brands to category management.

Una McCullough, marketing director, First Drinks

McCullough has been in the role at First Drinks on a permanent basis since September 2010 and her portfolio includes non-cream liqueurs Disaronno, Tia Maria and Cointreau. Marketing roles prior to First Drinks have included Kimberly Clark, Diageo and Imperial Tobacco.


Patrick Venning, marketing director – Spirits, Pernod Ricard 

Venning’s marketing remit covers Pernod Ricard’s liqueur brands as well as spirits. He took over as marketing director at the beginning of 2012 from Vlastimil Spelda. He has been at Pernod Ricard for a number of years and had stints at P&G and Birds Eye earlier in this career.



Winners and losers in the liquer sector

Jägermeister. This has enjoyed a sudden rise in sales, up 75% in 2011, thanks to the uptake of Jägerbombs — an alternative to vodka and Red Bull, and is now listed in all the leading supermarkets.

Baileys. Strong branding has associated Baileys with a relaxing night in for drinkers although it is also being pushed as a social drink. Diageo’s leading brand in the sector is worth almost £100m in the off-trade.

Pimms. Consumers are unlikely to consider this a liqueur (it technically is) as Diageo has successfully marketed it as a refreshing summer drink — showing what is possible with liqueur brands with the right marketing.

 Tia Maria. Although it’s number two in sales through grocery multiples (Nielsen Scantrack November 2011), in Mintel’s brand research it lacked a strong identity with the brand seen as boring and tired. But in 2011 it promoted new mixes of its drink in bars in the UK.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message