Boding well for Christmas business

It’s been a good Summer for sales of alcohol which bodes well for the seasonal Christmas drinks business. Drinks Industry Ireland reports on the coming Festive season and what the suppliers have to offer.

Last year’s alcohol sales in November/December were up 2.2% according to Nielsen which pointed out that this particular spending period is recognised by leading brands as being the time to promote heavily in a space that enjoys more return than at other times of the year.

Kantar Worldpanel’s UK sales figures for the 12 weeks to December 3rd last year indicate supermarket sales increasing by 3.1% in value year-on-year, with alcohol sales up by almost £172 million compared to the same time in 2017.

And Kantar Worldpanel reports that while volume sales did increase, growth was mainly the result of consumers choosing more expensive festive tipples.

Gin, whisky and sparkling wine all saw significant growth: up by 26%, 10% and 7% respectively as shoppers pushed the boat out.

“Still small but growing rapidly, non-alcoholic beer is the new kid on the block this Christmas – growing sales by 27% during the past 12 weeks,” reported Kantar Worldpanel’s Head of Retail and Consumer Insight in the UK Frazer McKevitt of last Christmas’s skew in demand.


Ireland’s Christmas market

Last year’s alcohol sales in November/December were up 2.2% according to Nielsen which pointed out that this particular spending period is recognised by leading brands as being the time to promote heavily in a space that enjoys more return than at other times of the year.

Last year’s alcohol sales in November/December were up 2.2% according to Nielsen which pointed out that this particular spending period is recognised by leading brands as being the time to promote heavily in a space that enjoys more return than at other times of the year.

Here in Ireland, alcohol sales rose 2.2% last November/December, a seasonal rise worth €9.4 million according to Nielsen in its Christmas Review.

The multiples enjoyed a 2.1% boost in their sales over the Christmas period last year that was worth €4.8 million.  The discounters too had a bumper Christmas with alcohol showing a sales growth of 13% worth 6.6 million.

Within the alcohol market then gin sales were up €4.7 million, sparkling wines were up €3.4 million and whiskey was up €1.74 million with Guinness, Coca-Cola, Carlsberg and Heineken leading the Top 10 brand advertisers in the November-December period.

Nielsen also found that larger packs performed strongly at Christmas. In the Beer & Cider sector, for example, large packs took 33% of the value share in the eight weeks to Christmas where they’d normally be responsible for just 22% the rest of the year and Baileys ‘Don’t mind if I Baileys’ promotion saw it grow its media spend by 110% for a 22% increase in sales.


Seasonal value-added packaging

Value-added packaging also helps increase the value of gifting opportunities at this time of year.

A couple of examples can be seen to have driven incremental value for the brands concerned.

Hendrick’s Gin Gift Pack cost an additional €6.67 per 70cl bottle and was responsible for 15% of the brand’s value sales, but its overall contribution to brand growth was 34%.

Bombay Sapphire gin’s 70cl gift pack cost an extra €2.24 and contributed 10% to the brand’s value sales. Its contribution to brand growth was 16%.


Mintel’s Christmas

Christmas spending habits are also the subject of a similar report from Mintel which found that branded drinks appealed strongly to consumers during the last Christmas period.

“When buying food for Christmas 2017, Irish consumers showed a strong preference for purchasing branded alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks compared to own-label products,” stated the report, “This likely reflects that consumers are looking to treat themselves, family members and friends over Christmas and that they are willing to splash out when doing so.”

“When buying food for Christmas 2017, Irish consumers showed a strong preference for purchasing branded alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks compared to own-label products,” stated the report, “This likely reflects that consumers are looking to treat themselves, family members and friends over Christmas and that they are willing to splash out when doing so.”

“When buying food for Christmas 2017, Irish consumers showed a strong preference for purchasing branded alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks compared to own-label products,” stated the report, “This likely reflects that consumers are looking to treat themselves, family members and friends over Christmas and that they are willing to splash out when doing so.”

Research conducted by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association last year reported that UK residents drank 85 million bottles of Prosecco with a large percentage of the sparkling beverage being consumed over the Christmas period.

According to the WSTA sales of sparkling wine and Champagne have soared an incredible 72% in the UK since 2012, with 97% of 18 to 24 year-olds also claiming to enjoy Prosecco and other sparkling alcohols.
















Christmas spirit

Grá in the air for new Absolut limited-edition bottle

Themed A Drop of Love, the 2018 Absolut concept aims to communicate the need for love rather than hate on a global scale with the powerful word canvassed across the bottle in multiple languages. For the first time Ireland is proudly represented on the vibrant bottle with the word Grá.

“The vodka with nothing to hide” prides itself on using only the purest quality ingredients. Each aspect of Absolut’s production journey takes place in and around the small village of Åhus in Sweden. Every drop of water and every seed of wheat comes from one source, resulting in the same high-quality taste.

A Drop of Love follows the brand’s celebrated tradition of introducing limited-edition bottles featuring cutting-edge designs with predecessors including a striking Andy Warhol bottle, a leather-clad Rock bottle, a blank No Labels bottle, a sequin-covered Masquerade bottle and many more, making them ‘must-have’ collector’s items.

Rich, full-bodied and complex, yet smooth and mellow with a distinct character of grain followed by a hint of dried fruit, the new limited-edition Absolut is available in both hot pink and neon green. The eye-catching design on this bottle is inspired by ink taken from hate posters around the world. This limited edition is a colourful, vibrant silhouette bottle highlighting a positive message, sharing Absolut’s view of an Open World.

Absolut Drop of Love is the perfect accompaniment to Christmas celebrations this year whether as a treat to savour over the festive period, a gift or the ‘must have’ addition to a yuletide party.



Rémy Martin VSOP is composed of eaux-de-vie exclusively from the highest quality vineyards of Cognac, the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne. Such eaux-de-vie offer exceptional ageing potential and are known as Cognac Fine Champagne.

In 1927, Rémy Martin’s Cellar Master André Renaud created the very first VSOP Fine Champagne—a truly visionary and audacious decision. This prestigious appellation would be officially recognised 11 years later as an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée.

Accounting for one in three bottles of VSOP consumed worldwide and distributed here by Barry & Fitzwilliam, Remy Martin is the benchmark for the VSOP category and is blended from spirits aged from four to 12 years.

This latest version finishes the Cognac in old barrels for a year before bottling. It embodies the perfect harmony of powerful and elegant aromas. It‘s the symbol of the Cellar Master’s art of blending. It’s extremely versatile, so you may enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. We recommend Rémy Martin VSOP with ginger ale or as Remy Grand Tonic, made by mixing Remy Martin VSOP over ice, topped with tonic and finished with a wedge of fresh Lemon.


Come get cosy at the Roe & Co Terrace in Sophies at The Dean 

Roe & Co Irish Whiskey has launched the ultimate outdoor Winter warmer experience with its Roe & Cosy Terrace in Sophies at The Dean. The Terrace, with a 360-degree view of Dublin City lights, is fully decked-out with everything consumers need to keep warm and cosy this Winter including a roaring fire, blankets, hot water bottles and more. The immersive Terrace also includes a spice trail of festive ingredients and scents incorporated into the surrounding greenery.

Sophies’ bartenders, in collaboration with Roe & Co Brand Ambassador Alan Mulvihill, have created a bespoke cocktail menu full of Winter-inspired drinks that bring warmth and comfort with every sip.

With Sophies’ food menu available to order, the Roe & Cosy Terrace will stay open throughout the Winter months.

It’s the latest activation in the ongoing partnership between Press-Up Entertainment Group and Diageo’s Reserve portfolio of Luxury Spirits.


Chinnery Gin

Just launched, Chinnery Gin is a dry gin made in Dublin and Cork. The gin contains 10 botanicals including defining flavours of Osmanthus Flower and Oolong Tea.

Inspired by the romance of the Old China Trade, the Chinnery Gin story draws on a colourful history, steeped with tales of trade, travel and creativity, all distilled into a fragrant and floral gin full of exotic flavours. The featured botanicals Osmanthus and Oolong are distilled individually in their entirety at Chinnery Spirits’ small Dublin distillery using a modern vacuum still before being blended with the gin base in Cork.

The design of the bottle and label makes Chinnery a very eye-catching choice for Christmas shoppers looking for something new and different. The Georgian townhouse featured on the label is sure to resonate with Irish consumers and be a unique Dublin gift for those abroad.

With the Christmas gift market in mind, Chinnery Gin is releasing a beautifully-designed box for the off-trade in addition to a gift set to include two 50ml Chinnery Gin miniatures and Poacher’s Wild Tonic & Ginger Ale, with suggested servings on the box.

Chinnery Gin is distributed exclusively by Celtic Whiskey Shop.


Record Christmas ahead for Drumshanbo

In just over two years since its launch Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin is already established in 28 countries and growing.

The brand is a firm favourite with Irish consumers, reflected in the early Christmas sales across the country.  The Curious Christmas Gift Box, like the bottle itself, is an instant eye-catcher and a top choice for Christmas gifting.

Signature Red Grapefruit Serve:

Generous wedge of fresh red Grapefruit

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin – 40ml

Chilled premium tonic -140ml

Garnish with a thick wedge of red Grapefruit

Serve over cubed ice

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin is distributed in Ireland by Dalcassian Wines & Spirits.


Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka

Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka is the second big brand from The Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney.

A perfect Christmas gift, the unique deep red glass of the bottle bears curious markings and an impactful label.

The RRP of €49 reflects the superior quality of this Super Premium pure Irish vodka and its unique 43% strength.

The launch spells further good news for Ireland’s Northwest with the announcement that together with the opening of The Shed’s new Visitor Experience next year – an additional 22 jobs will be created at the Drumshanbo distillery.




Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva rum

The exquisite Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum is renowned as one of the finest rum brands in the world. Diplomático has become the first-ever rum brand to be named Spirit Brand of the Year at Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Awards.

Following the exceptional response to the brand in Ireland across five-star hotels, top bars and restaurants, the Premium Venezuelan rum is now available in the off-trade.

Diplomático is an independent, family-owned brand best known for its sipping rums such as Reserva Exclusiva. Curated by Maestro Ronero, his expertise and excellence in the art of blending ensure exceptional quality & taste.

The Diplomatico Tradition Range – Mantuano, Planas and Reserva Exclusiva – are carefully-crafted rums from premium sugar cane and use a rich variety of distillation methods.

Already a highly-revered rum in over 70 countries, Diplomático has secured protected Denomination of Origin.


Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey

Distributed by Dalcassian Wines & Spirits, this Christmas Writers’ Tears – Copper Pot is available in a sophisticated, beautifully-finished presentation pack which includes two teardrop-branded whiskey tumblers and a 700ml bottle of Writers’ Tears Copper Pot.
Produced by Walsh Whiskey, it’s distilled entirely from pot still and malt without grain. It’s now distributed to over 20 countries worldwide, more than doubling its US distribution to over 40 States in 2018.

Christmas sales will be further supported through a new brand partnership deal with the renowned WhiskyCast podcast produced by legendary whiskey aficionado Mark Gillespie. Writers’ Tears – Copper Pot features on the website and in every WhiskyCast podcast. The podcast has an audience of over 41,000 whisky enthusiasts globally who combine to listen to the show over 1 million times in a year.



Irishman Founder’s Reserve

Distributed by Dalcassian Wines & Spirits, The Irishman Founder’s Reserve from Walsh Whiskey Distillery has been awarded Gold Medals at both The Whisky Wizards and International Spirits Challenge this year.

Walsh Whiskey Distillery also won ‘Irish Distiller of the Year’ at The Whisky Wizards.

The Irishman Founder’s Reserve is the original and signature blend created by founder Bernard Walsh using 70% Single Malt and 30% Single Pot Still. It was recently awarded Gold at the 2017 Irish Whiskey Awards in the Best Irish Blended Whiskey (RRP less than €60) category.

It’s also one of the highest-rated Irish whiskeys in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible with 93 points – “Quite a Wonderful Blend”.



Goslings Dark ‘N Stormy

Bermuda’s national drink Gosling’s Dark ‘N Stormy is the perfect festive drink this Christmas.  A perfect marriage of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum which has a rich, intricate flavour and the specially-crafted Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer, a match made in holiday heaven.

Gosling’s Ginger Beer was created by Goslings to perfectly complement Gosling’s Black Seal Rum in the signature drink Dark ’N Stormy.

Dark ‘N Stormy Ingredients

1.5oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum

4 oz Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer

In a tall glass filled with ice, add 4–5 oz of Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer and top with Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.

Garnish with an optional Lime wedge.

Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer are distributed by Dalcassian Wines & Spirits.


Egan’s Legacy Reserve

Egan’s Irish Whiskey has added a premium offering to its growing portfolio in time for the Christmas season.

The limited-edition Legacy Reserve ups the ante on its award-winning predecessors, the 10 Year-Old Single Malt and Vintage Grain, successfully introduced to the US and Irish markets in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Both received outstanding reviews in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2019.

Aged for 15 years in American bourbon casks, Legacy Reserve is hand-selected by Maurice and Jonathan Egan whose forefathers Patrick and Henry began the brand six generations ago. The distinctive bottle and beautiful presentation box are bound to be coveted by whiskey lovers and collectors alike.

This release is limited to 1,000 bottles worldwide and comes in at 46% ABV. For distribution enquiries contact Intrepid Spirits on (01) 547 1727.


Spike Island Spiced Rum

Spike Island Spiced Rum from Anchor Spirits Ireland makes a great Christmas rum.

Spike Island is a premium rum imported from Barbados and hand-spiced in the barrel in Ireland.  It’s left to mature for several months and the result has already garnered Spike Island two prestigious international awards.

Warming notes of Orange, Cinnamon, Allspice and Star Anise combine to make this a super festive smooth shot.  It’s great in cocktails and works particularly well with exotic fruit juices. Try it with Triple Sec and some boiling water with a slice of clove-studded orange for a festive rum Toddy that’s guaranteed to warm on the coldest of days.

Spike Island Spiced Rum Toddy Recipe

50 mls Spike Island Spiced Rum

15 mls Triple Sec

10 mls sugar syrup

100mls boiling water

Garnish with a slice of clove-studded Orange.


Mix Spike Island, Triple Sec and sugar syrup together.  Pour in boiling water. Garnish and serve immediately.


Christmas Liqueur


Jägermeister (“Master Hunter”) was created in Wolfenbuttel, Germany, by Curt Mast in 1878 and the recipe hasn’t changed since. It’s made with the highest-grade herbs, blossoms, roots and fruits from around the globe; 56 herbs & spices crafted into four distinct macerates combined together it then resides in Oak barrels to refine and harmonise the herbal liqueur.

It’s a ritual process resulting in the complex and balanced flavour brought to life by the skills and craftsmanship of Jägermeister’s very own production ‘Meister’.

Jägermeister is working towards ensuring the perfect serve globally, which sits at a cool -18⁰C. The herbal liqueur can be enjoyed as an ice-cold shot or as an ingredient to create cocktails, Martinis, Sours, Tonics etc. Try a Root 56 cocktail, a gutsy combination of Jägermeister, ginger beer, Lime and Cucumber over ice – this really shows the flexibility and sense of creativeness for Jägermeister.

Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.



Disaronno is an amaretto made in Saronno in Italy. The original “secret formula” is unchanged since 1525. It’s amber in colour with an infusion of Apricot kernel oil with absolute alcohol, burnt sugar and the pure essence of 17 selected herbs and fruits.

The liqueur is sold in an oblong glass decanter designed by a craftsman from Murano and does not contain any almonds or other nuts. Served on the rocks Disaronno enjoys true style status as the world’s favourite Italian liqueur. With over 100 perfect mixes to suit your customers’ mood, the brand and fan-base continue to grow.

Disaronno Sour is one of the favourites at the moment – a unique refreshing drink in which the distinctive notes of Disaronno blend with the scent of freshly-squeezed lemons. It’s easy to make too.

All that’s required is 50ml Disaronno, 25ml fresh Lemon juice, 5ml sugar syrup and egg white.

Shake all ingredients with ice and serve with a garnish of Lemon for a beautiful cocktail.

Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.



Baileys is a delicious and indulgent treat – part alcohol, part cake and pure pleasure. Deliciously simple poured over ice, ice-cream or in coffee, creamy hot chocolate drinks, freakshakes or as a delightful cake or bake component.

Born of the great Irish traditions of distilling and dairy, Baileys was expertly and uniquely created over four decades ago, giving rise to a whole new spirits category in cream liqueurs and growing to be the most successful spirits launch of the past 40 years. It’s now available in 160 countries, with over 237 million people saying they love Baileys across the globe.

Today, Baileys is the world’s most-loved spirits brand and has never been in better shape, with three bottles of Baileys sold every second. Last Christmas, Baileys volume grew 78% vs the previous month and with increased ATL investment this year is shaping up to be even bigger. So stock up on Baileys this Christmas and treat yourself to some delicious sales.

Place an order with your Sales Representative or through your Diageo Connect account today on



Dalcassian launches Five Farms into Ireland

Dalcassian Wines & Spirits has launched the Super-Premium Five Farms Irish Cream Liqueur into Ireland in time for Christmas. Five Farms is a single batch Irish Cream Liqueur entirely sourced and produced in Cork & derives its name from the five family-owned farms in the region providing the product’s rich dairy cream.

Made with premium 10 year-old, triple-distilled Irish whiskey, the secret to the Super-Premium taste lies in the high quantity of whiskey in the recipe – 10% whiskey content compared to less than 1% used by most Cream Liqueur brands. This difference is significant, resulting in an intensity of whiskey flavour that sets Five Farms apart from every other Irish Cream Liqueur.

It has already taken the US by storm & is tipped as the brand that will elevate the Cream Liqueur category globally.  Five Farms has just received the highest-ever rating for an Irish Cream Liqueur in the 2018 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, the premier spirits competition in the world. With the phenomenal 97 score awarded to Five Farms, sales in the US are already ‘off-the-scale’ & Dalcassian says the response in the Irish trade is overwhelming.



Christmas beer

Carlsberg Unfiltered: a new taste experience launches in Ireland

Carlsberg has launched Carlsberg Unfiltered into Ireland on draught, a great-tasting, cloudy pilsner lager offering beer drinkers a brand-new taste experience.

The bottled format will be distributed next February.

The new beer is inspired by Danish values of simplicity and connection with nature and its name reflects how the lager is made. The brewers have removed the filtration process, which leaves more natural flavours and body in the lager, producing a premium, great-tasting, cloudy pilsner with subtle floral and hop notes – unlike anything else in the category.

Carlsberg Marketing Manager Alan McAleenan stated that Carlsberg Unfiltered “will appeal to lager drinkers who’re looking to try something different and want a more natural taste experience from their beer.”


Hashtag:           #CarlsbergUnfiltered

Instagram:        @CarlsbergIrelan













Grand Cru

Set up just over 10 years ago Grand Cru Beers has been specialising in & distributing the best craft beer has to offer from both international and domestic breweries. In 2016 it purchased and moved into the old Corrib Foods Distribution depot, a fully-refrigerated warehouse with a 25,000sq ft footprint.

“Cold shipping has always been part of our logistics model, particularly with American craft beers,” states the company, “Big hop flavours suffer accelerated degradation from temperature fluctuations so keeping them stored cold prolongs the brewery-fresh flavour of the beer. The energy costs of this are substantial but it’s vital for the quality of the beer. We’ve been investing heavily with our customers to extend their own refrigerated space as the end-consumers are starting to understand the benefits of this. We were amongst the first specialist importers and distributors in Europe to move to this model, driven in small part by our partnership with Sierra Nevada brewery. We were recently appointed as its master agent for Europe as we could guarantee full cold chain supply for the market within the EU”.








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