Producers are looking with interest at the UK’s liqueur sector, indicating that 2019 could be the year for increased NPD in this niche drinks sector. 

The news follows the announcement at the end of 2018, which showed home cocktail making is driving growth in off-trade liqueur sales.

Pernod Ricard has confirmed it is currently trialling Chili Chocolate Flavour Kahlua, which boasts “a spicy chili taste”, although the product is currently only available via Ocado (rsp: £16). The producer also has a Salted Caramel variant, which is more widely available in the UK, with stockists including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

Earlier this year By the Dutch announced it was seeking UK stockists for its eponymous Dutch liqueur, By the Dutch Advocaat. The company hopes to tap into the UK’s burgeoning cocktail scene via its UK partner, Astrum Wine Cellars.

The drink, which is produced in the Dutch province, South Holland, follows a traditional recipe using local barn eggs, sugar, brandy, vanilla from Madagascar, rosemary from Morocco and water. 

Owner and founder, Jos Zonneveld, said: “It is by far the most ambitious product within the By the Dutch range. We are thrilled to see this iconic cocktail ingredient back in the speed rack.”

Also in cream liqueurs, Diageo continues to invest in NPD for its Baileys cream liqueur brand, with recent new variants including Strawberries & Cream, Almande (made using almond milk) and Pumpkin Spice.

At the end of last year, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association confirmed home cocktail making had spurred a massive surge in sales of liqueurs in the off-trade with sales of non-cream liqueurs up 56% during the 12 weeks to September 8, compared to 2017 [Nielsen]. Cream liqueur sales rose 33% to 17 million bottles.

Chief executive, Miles Beale, said: “In the past liqueurs have often been overlooked in the spirits category but the WSTA market report shows a surge in sales in the UK’s shops and supermarkets in 2018.”

In 2018 a number of distributors added liqueurs to their portfolios. Spirits specialist Tortuga added rose-petal liqueur Lanique, Vreimuth vermouth and blueberry liqueur, Mirtillo from Austrian distiller Freihof. Mangrove Global added Amaro Montenegro and Emporia Brands added Gabriel Boudier Mustard Liqueur.

Meanwhile, a raft of UK-based spirits and wine producers extended into the liqueur segment in 2018, with many gin makers adding a gin liqueur while winemakers invested in adding vermouth to their offerings.