Christmas drinks: Spirits

Jameson fans are well catered for this Christmas with attractive gifting solutions from Irish Distillers
Jameson fans are well catered for this Christmas with attractive gifting solutions from Irish Distillers

Spirits has seen several uplifts across different segments this year. The category serves the at-home entertaining and gifting occasions well every Christmas


Brand Central

16 November 2009

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Between 2008 and 2012, spirits consumption in Ireland is expected to increase by 10.99% to reach 3.11 million cases, according to the Vinexpo/IWSR study 2009.

Currently the leading tipple in Ireland, vodka is expected to grow by a further 17%, while rum and gin which lost ground between 2003 and 2007 are expected to regain volume by 2012.

Mintel reports golden rums have also taken dark spirits outside their traditional 45+ male customer base and are appealing to younger consumers, while liqueurs also benefit from increased appeal during the festive season.

Here is what the trade has to offer to make the most of the approaching festive season.


As Ireland’s leading spirits and wines supplier, Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard is working closely with retailers to get the most from spirits and wine. At 35%, Irish whiskey delivers a higher percentage of sales at Christmas versus total spirits at 28% (AC Nielsen Total Multiples O/N/D ROI 2008). Together Jameson, Powers and Paddy represent 87% of Irish whiskey volume sales at Christmas, (source as before), while Jameson is the number one value and volume spirit at Christmas, with 46% volume share of Irish whiskey sales (source as before).

Jameson is supported by continued investment in the ‘It’s a Jameson thing’ advertising campaign, with press, online and outdoor activity (including ‘outdoor specials’) and bespoke Christmas executions close to the point of sale. Christmas offerings in the off-trade include the seasonal single bottle carton and a gift pack featuring two premium tall Jameson glasses. The glasses are the same as those used in the highly successful ‘Mix it Up’ on-trade sampling programme, with over 60,000 consumers sampled in the past 15 months.

Cork Dry GinPowers advertising campaign ‘Now You’re Talking’ will feature in press, online and outdoor. In the off-trade consumers can avail of the Powers single bottle carton and a gift pack featuring two premium Powers glasses. Powers’ warm, fuller flavour means that it is the ideal choice for making hot beverages such as Irish coffee or hot whiskey during the festive season.
In the vodka market Irish Distillers is promoting the distinctively packaged bottle Absolut Rock this Christmas, the must have stocking filler for Christmas 2009. The Absolut Rock Edition bottle is wrapped in a leather look skin embellished with square pewter toned studs, featuring a full length zipper. Previous special editions include Absolut Masquerade and Absolut Disco, which have attracted huge public attention and have become collector’s items.

Malibu, the original flavoured rum, is an essential cocktail ingredient for the festive season and will be found at every Christmas party. To help drive sales, delicious Malibu cocktail recipe ideas can be found in selected supermarkets and off-licences throughout the season. Malibu is available nationwide at RSP €19.99.

Finally, Ireland’s favourite gin, Cork Dry Gin, makes the perfect aperitif served over ice with tonic and is another vital part of every offering this Christmas. Classic chic has made a come back so Cork Dry Gin is on point as the perfect gift for discerning drinkers this festive season, available in a stylish gift pack.


Baileys has the perfect Christmas gift available for this festive season: the Baileys Red Bow Bottle is stylishly dressed with a gorgeous red bow, representing the brand as the ultimate Christmas gifting spirit. The special Christmas Baileys bottle with its bespoke red bow allows for an instant, stylish gift without the hassle of wrapping paper. It is available in all off-licences nationwide at RRP €20.07.

Smirnoff, the number one vodka brand in Ireland and the world (IWSR Elite Brands List September 2009), has just launched the first phase of a new global 360° campaign in Ireland called ‘Be There’. The campaign marks a shift in the marketing approach from linear ad campaigns to experiences and content amplified through the power of digital media. A series of globally and locally produced Smirnoff Be There events engage consumers throughout the year in line with the brand’s ethos to inspire consumers to overturn convention in the pursuit of one-of-a-kind experiences.

The Smirnoff Be There campaign in Ireland encompasses print, television, online, and out-of-home creative executions, offering compelling visual images encouraging consumers to ‘be there’. Out-of-home creative executions include ‘Zorbing’ and ‘Hands in the Air’ which recently kicked off in Ireland. Print and online ads have also commenced.


Barry and Fitzwilliam distributes a wide range of premium spirits, including Teachers Scotch, Courvoisier Cognac, Rémy Martin Cognac, The Famous Grouse Finest Scotch Whisky, Jim Beam Bourbon, Vladivar Vodka and Boru Vodka. Courvoisier has recently launched a series of very high-end cognac with one, Courvoisier l’Esprit, expected to retail for €5,000.

Two other new additions to the spirits range this Christmas are Famous Grouse 10 Year Old and Pinky Vodka. Cocktails, champagne and shooters will be top of the bill this Christmas and leading brand names within Barry and Fitzwilliam/Allied Wines are ready to cater for all, such as Cointreau, Bols, Sourz and Jagermeister.

Cointreau is the perfect partner for cocktails, renowned for its starring role in the Cosmopolitan, made famous by Sex and The City. Bols fruit-based liqueurs are versatile and offer the ideal platform for known recipes and experimental creations; the range includes Bols Blue, Grenadine, Advocaat, Crème de Cacao, Amaretto and many more. Sourz is proving to be a great success, especially low-strength (15%) shooter brand Sourz Apple, joined by Sourz Cherry and Sourz Pineapple. Jagermeister and After Shock meanwhile, are stalwarts of the shots segment.

According to Michael Barry, managing director of Barry and Fitzwilliam, Christmas is very much a time for brown spirits and this year the company will be giving a lot of support to its range which includes Rémy Martin, Courvoisier, Teachers, Famous Grouse, Whyte & Mackay and Jim Beam.


United Wine Merchants offers a wide and varied range of both white and brown spirits to ensure that every category is covered over the festive season. Amongst these is Kulov Vodka, which is new to the portfolio this year and offers great taste, purity and quality. At RSP €16.99 (70cl), this premium spirit is also available in 1L, 35cl and 20cl sizes and is sure to be a firm favourite with customers who want quality without the price tag.

Also new to the United Wine Merchants portfolio is MacArthur’s fine Scotch Whisky.  A perfect offering for those customers who fancy a “hot totty” during the cold winter months, at RSP €17.99. This robust and full flavoured Scotch has become a firm favourite worldwide.



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