Cream and dairy-based alcoholic drinks have been getting a lot of attention of late. This is partly due to the growing interest in the at-home cocktail occasion, but it’s also because there have been some dramatic exits from the sector.
The battle for share within the cream liqueur market is never more cut-throat than during the Christmas period.
Diageo’s Baileys leads the way in cream and is fourth in all take-home spirit brands, according to ACNielsen.
Over Christmas last year, Baileys grew 21% across both off and on-trade, and it boosted the cream liqueur category by 8% over the festive season
[ACNielsen MAT to Christmas 2004]. Its share of the cream liqueur market increased by 7% to 66% over Christmas 2004.
This year is likely to be the same. Diageo will be investing £5m in the brand over November and December and is pushing it as a spirit to be blended with ice through a partnership with electrical goods company Moulinex. It has also brought out Crème Caramel and Mint Chocolate variants, currently available through duty free.
So other brands have their work cut out. Indeed, last year’s price battle between Baileys and Tia Lusso led to reports that Allied Domecq would be pulling the latter following a decline in sales.
The big news this year was the scrapping of Baileys Glide, an RTD extension, in August due to disappointing sales.
But the category hasn’t been without innovation. This year, American strawberry-flavoured Tequila Rose entered the UK off-trade, while chocolate companies continue to look at brand extensions in the field.
Melissa Draycott, Sainsbury buyer for spirits and cream liqueurs, says the cream liqueur category is strong. “Baileys has about 80-90% of Sainsbury’s cream liqueur sales, but Amarula is experiencing strong growth and is probably the number two. Lambrini Cream also got off to a good start this year.”
She says Jago vodka cream liqueur, now celebrating its second Christmas, has been performing well. Last Christmas also saw the launch of Guylian Praline Cream Liqueur, which has listings in Sainsbury as a gift pack accompanied by a gift box of Guylian praline seashells.