Frozen in time

10 May, 2018

“All visitors, especially bartenders who are welcomed on a regular basis, can follow every step of the process and can see all the ‘savoir-faire’ that is required to create Bénédictine.

“They see the complexity of the process, the fact that not much in it has changed since 1863 and all the craft that is require to keep the quality of the product at its highest.”

He adds: “Being able to see the authenticity of the process and all the history behind the brand, in a unique and beautiful place, are certainly things that are appealing to consumers and help us leverage our heritage.The team at the Palais works hard to communicate this through digital media.”

Then there is Chartreuse, the famous green brand which leverages its monastic past in its brand story. Jenny Griffiths, UK brand ambassador, says: “It is one of the world’s oldest liqueurs, created from different flowers, plants, herbs and spices.

“The recipe for the ‘elixir of life’ was gifted to the order of monks known as the Carthusians in 1605 by Maréchal d’Estrées on a manuscript.

“The Carthusian order created its interpretation of this ‘elixir’ in 1737 thanks to Brother Gérome Maubec, and created Chartreuse in 1764.

“Today only two monks know the recipe and are solely responsible for its production at the distillery in the foothill of the Chartreuse mountains.

“Chartreuse and the Carthusians have a symbiotic relationship – one could not exist without the other, especially in a post-industrial modern era.”

These are the kind of stories that some modern brands would kill for.


But often these are small brands without huge consumer marketing budgets. For many it’s a case of convince the bartender, convince the consumer. And what are bartenders? Millennials who prize heritage and authenticity.

Daniele Taccone, export manager for Strega, says: “We are focusing the attention to explain more about the quality of the ingredients we use, the production process and the importance of the details to produce a unique or particular product.

“One of the keys is the versatility of the herbal liqueurs and something that we promote. We feel it is one of the most appreciated elements in the mixability for the bartender.”

Chartreuse is keen to solidify its friendships among those in the industry who show a love and genuine passion for the liquid.

Griffiths says: “We want to do this by selecting a small group of people across the UK (beginning with London for the first year) who are singing the praises of our brand and truly being creative with Chartreuse in their venues – the Friends of Chartreuse.

“Chartreuse is a small company, but thanks to its long history has gained a cult status among bartenders. Those who are fans of the brand are extremely passionate, and we would like to thank these individuals for their ongoing support.

“By creating the Friends of Chartreuse we are thanking people on a more personable level, which I believe is more impactful than, say, a national competition with a cash prize at the end. It also gives us a great opportunity to have an open discussion about Chartreuse – its perception within the industry, its history and, importantly, where the brand is going in the future.”

Bartender-led programmes could make all the difference when it comes to consumers understanding and prizing the heritage herbal bitters possess.

Michael Eichel, corporate communications director of Mast-Jägermeister, says: “We notice that consumers also like experimenting with spirits within cocktails and long drinks.

“Therefore we use our global key programme Hubertus Circle, a bartender loyalty programme currently working in 17 markets, in order to highlight the versatility and premium characteristics of the brand.

“The Hubertus Circle is an international network of bartenders, initiated by Jägermeister.

“Since its foundation in 2011, it has grown into a strong community. Members from all over the world support each other, work together, and learn from one another.

“The Hubertus Circle currently has active communities in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ireland, the US, the Netherlands, Spain, UK, France, Russia, Australia and Germany.”

For now it seems bartenders are really the key to unlocking the full potential this historic category has to offer.


Joe Bates

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