Liqueurs ‘revitalised’ by the popularity of cocktails


The popularity of cocktails has ‘revitalised’ the liqueurs category, said drinks companies.

WHETHER it’s as cocktail ingredients or after-dinner digestifs, liqueurs and speciality spirits account for one of the biggest shares of on-trade drinks sales – worth over £122m to Scottish premises.

Its importance to Scottish pubs and bars is reinforced by the fact that the category was one of very few to increase in value between 2019 and 2022, according to figures from CGA.

Jagermeister is the biggest brand in the sector, followed by Baileys, Sourz and Luxardo.

Edinburgh Gin’s Rhubarb & Ginger liqueur rounds out the top five.

Earlier this year Edinburgh Gin parent company, Ian Macleod Distillers, told SLTN that gin liqueurs are now worth around £9.1m in sales through Scottish pubs and bars, with Scotland having the fastest rate of sale for gin liqueurs in the whole of the UK.

Other notable brands in the Scottish market include Disaronno, Malibu and Southern Comfort.

This year Jagermeister held its Meister Hunter cocktail competition in person again for the first time in several years, with bartenders from across the UK facing off in London last month.

It’s very much a sign of where the liqueurs category has positioned itself in recent years.

While there’s undoubtedly still a market for liqueurs consumed neat or over ice, drinks companies have repeatedly stressed their importance to cocktail lists, with a spokeswoman for Mangrove – distributor of brands including Amaro Montenegro, Espirit de Figues and Limoncello Di Capri – telling SLTN this year that cocktails had “reinvigorated” the liqueurs category.

“For too long liqueurs were the forgotten drinks, gathering dust at the back of a cabinet,” she said.

“But that’s all changed as liqueurs make great bases for so many cocktails and as we all know cocktails are so ‘in’.

“Consumers are now keen to experiment with innovative liqueurs and flavours.”

That was backed up by Jonathan Dennys at Jagermeister, who said on-trade customers are looking for “brands that offer a sense of discovery and are becoming more adventurous in their drink choices, stepping outside of their comfort zone to enrich their experience.”