FROM the after-dinner tradition to shots and everything in between, there are few more diverse categories, in style and in taste, than liqueurs.
And with drinkers becoming more adventurous and seeking out new flavours, be it in longer serves or in cocktails, liqueurs can be well-positioned to deliver the variety customers are looking for.
In order to best-exploit the thirst for new flavours, Michael Mann, Bols brand ambassador for Edrington-Beam Suntory UK, reckons stocking a wide range of products, from the mainstream to premium liqueur brands, can help “suit a multitude of tastes”.
“More so than ever before, customers are looking for exciting and unusual drinks so it’s important for licensees to be flexible and adapt to changes in the market,” added Mann.
Carlo Valente, director of VC2 Brands, producer of Stivy’s liqueurs, shared that view, advising operators to choose “what is in vogue at the moment… or trying something new that has real point of difference”.
Jen Draper, head of marketing for Global Brands, whose portfolio includes the Teichenné range of liqueurs, reckons the ever-expanding market for cocktails means licensees need to pay extra attention to the liqueurs they stock on the back-bar.
She said: “Cocktails are set to be responsible for 10% of all on-trade spirit sales by 2020 and the opportunities for cocktail ingredients are limitless.
“As a result of this growth, liqueurs are becoming a large part of a bartender’s inventory. Growing in both value and volume in the on-trade, it’s crucial bar owners get the basics right to ensure they are able to meet this demand.”
Building on the theme of offering customers something different, Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said he expects to see more diversification over the next year.
Cocktails continue to grow; offering classic cocktails with a twist will be a significant driver.
He said: “Bartenders are using more intense and unusual flavours in cocktails, including coffee, as well as spices such as cinnamon and chilli, and herbal liqueurs.
“Brands that can deliver something genuinely different are an asset in helping pubs and bars appeal to those consumers looking for an ‘adventure’ when they browse the cocktail list.”
Katy Carter, insight and brand manager at Cellar Trends, distributor of the Kwai Feh Lychee Liqueur as well as Mandarine Napoléon amongst others, said she expects the trend towards “lighter and more refreshing drinks” to continue this year.
“As well as this, offering drinks with a variety of flavours will be an important trend,” said Carter.
“Cocktails continue to grow and will be a popular choice, offering classic cocktails with a twist will be a significant driver.
“The on-trade occasion has changed too, so offer drinks which tap into these.”
However, once variety across a liqueur range has been achieved in outlets, it’s essential for operators to be able to trust their staff to use them in high quality serves.
In order to do so, Amy Giacobbi, marketing manager at Continental Wine & Food (CWF), believes bartenders must understand the products they are working with to boost liqueur sales in new serves.
She said: “Staff need a sound knowledge and understanding of the liqueurs they have on the back-bar to be able to meet the needs of those consumers who are looking to experiment.
“If the delivery is good, cocktails are a great way to expose customers to liqueurs they would not normally opt for, broadening their tastes.
“Staff need to know exactly how each liqueur tastes and interact with other ingredients to ensure the correct amount is used to produce the perfect cocktail every time.”
Triple Teich Espresso
20ml Teichenné Vanilla
20ml Teichenné Chocolate
20ml Teichenné Butterscotch
5ml sugar syrup
50ml cold espresso
Method: shake and fine strain all ingredients without ice. Serve in a coupe glass and garnish with grated chocolate.
– Global Brands.
2 lime wedges
Method: pour Tuaca into a lowball glass and fill with ginger ale. Squeeze lime wedges into drink and mix.