Cachaça: In Full Flow

09 January, 2015

“Resembling the craft beer movement, the artisanal cachaça movement is now catching on with the local bartenders, and there are some important new protagonists of the movement, such as the Mapa da Cachaça website, created by Felipe Jannuzzi,” he says. “Every bar now has an ‘artisanal cachaça’ list
that it presents to consumers on their menu, and stores now have an artisanal cachaça section.”

Opinions differ on the true potential of this part of the sector. Andrea Baumgartner, international marketing director of Underberg, which distributes Pitú in Europe, says: “We don’t think that they are going to be big players, of course, but they are building the quality perspective.”

But Luttmann is utterly convinced that artisanal cachaça is “integral” to the future of the category. “With the continued growth of the craft spirits movement worldwide, this is really becoming the reality, certainly in Brazil, but it is definitely becoming the focus point for the category internationally,” he argues.

“The taste-quality differential between artisanal alambique cachaças and industrial cachaças is just too great, and while many industrial cachaças’ cruder aspects may disappear in the overly sweetened masked cocktail, consumer tastes are just becoming more sophisticated, and their expectations of their base spirits are getting higher.”

As evidence, he cites a “ton” of interest in Leblon’s new aged expression, Reserva Especial, which aims to capitalise on the renewed interest in brown spirits in the US in particular.

Sporting chance

This is the perfect moment for cachaça to show the world exactly what it’s all about. First the football World Cup last summer; next the Olympics in Rio in 2016. As good a time as any to look back to one event, forward to the other – and consider what cachaça can gain from them both.

To make the most of the World Cup, Pitú sold a limited Brazil edition around Europe, earning excellent visibility at a retail level, says Baumgartner, as well as a Brazilian Party Set including a bottle of Pitú, two glasses, 14 straws and a pestle for those half-time Caipirinhas.

“We don’t think that the Olympic Games will have the same impact as the football World Cup, as football is much more popular than the summer games,” he says. “Anyway, we hope the talk about Brazil will keep cachaça top of mind for buyers and consumers.”

For Sagatiba, the World Cup coincided with the brand’s 10th birthday, prompting a special edition bottle sporting the colours of the Brazilian flag and available in Brazil, France, Spain, Greece, Uruguay, Chile and Angola, plus other markets.

“Big events such as the World Cup are a seeding opportunity for us,” according to Sagatiba. “During the events, both cachaça and the Caipirinha were in the spotlight and, at the same time, we had our limited edition that was being exported to countries where soccer is a hit.

“The focus on the Olympics will be Rio de Janeiro, and we’re planning activations and some innovations that will be announced at the appropriate time.”

Leblon’s activities, meanwhile, spanned the domestic and international spheres (see boxout), with promotions at home focused mainly on the Rio and São Paulo areas, plus key airports, and also including the presence in Rio of the “Leblonette” girls handing out muddlers and the brand’s How to be Brazilian book.

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