Liqueurs are trending – getting creamy-sweeter again

door | 30 jan 2024 | Internationaal, Nieuws

by Jürgen Deibel

The world of spirits with its various subcategories continues to generate important sales. For 2023 sales of liqueurs, grain-based spirits and the like are expected to total roughly EUR 2.3 billion worldwide. According to forecasts by Fortune Business Insights, the market volume in 2028 will amount to EUR 2.7 billion – corresponding to a compound annual growth rate of 3.29% (CAGR 2023-2028). The product segment of liqueurs, Korn schnapps and other spirits also shows a positive trend in volumes: according to forecasts the volume will reach 169.5 million litres in 2028. In 2023 the average per-capita consumption of liqueurs, Korn schnapps & other spirits will probably stand at 1.96 litres while for 2024 a 3.1% sales growth is expected. China will have probably generated most sales: the market volume forecast for 2023 here amounts to EUR 130.3 millions.

So liqueurs, Korn schnapps and other spirits are growth drivers. In the realm of spirits liqueurs are currently experiencing a new heyday. The trend is two-fold: On the one hand, tending towards creamy sweetness, on the other, bitters are also heralding a comeback with new variations and flavours.   

An excellent overview of this scintillating world of liqueurs will be offered by ProWein 2024 from 10 to 12 March with the Trend Show “same but different” in Hall 7 and the new brand world “ProSpirits” in Hall 5. Just under 500 of the more than 5,700 exhibitors from all over the world will be presenting their fascinating spirits ranges in two of 13 exhibition halls.  

The preference of creamy sweetness and aromatic beverages has resulted in growing attention paid to liqueurs in various flavours and combinations. Be they fruity, spicy or creamy – liqueurs offer a wide range of aromas which are both suitable for drinking neat and great for mix drinks and creative cocktails. There are no limits to diversity here – ranging from classic types like orange and vanilla liqueur to innovative creations including exotic fruit or herbs.  

The portfolio ranges from the cream liqueurs of the Dutch supplier Creamy Creations (Hall 5, F02) with their own cream liqueurs, vegan “cream” liqueurs and the associated base liqueurs, passing through the whiskey-based cream liqueurs as produced by McCormick (located at Bord Bia / Irish Food Board Ltd., Hall 5, Stand G18-J34) to Argentinian liqueurs by Dellepiane presenting their originally Argentinian cream liqueur Tambo (Hall 5, K46).

France, one of the bastions of liqueur culture, will also present interesting liqueur ideas at ProWein 2024. Examples include cream liqueurs care of Spiribam SAS in Hall 5, K43 or the product range of Spirit France Diffusion (Hall 5, M09). Specialised in Armagnac and Calvados, they will be presenting “Le Verger”, a 100% France Terroir Liqueur, at this year’s ProWein. In this Calvados-based liqueur fruit from French fruit orchards are centre stage mixing sanguine peach, cherry and fresh apple juice.  

Liqueurs from Korea

The unique emotional and spiritual culture of Korea blends here with its traditional understanding of spirits. Distillation is not in the foreground here but instead a wide variety of brewing methods providing the basis for Korea’s classic, aromatised grain-based wines (rice wine). Traditional Korean spirits are called “Yakju” and brewed with hard-boiled rice, yeast and water. They are then flavoured in varied ways with purely natural ingredients. This art of brewing is still unfamiliar to many people. ProSpirits offers the ideal opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the manufacturing processes. The Andong Soju Association (Hall 5, J55) and (KTLEA) the Korea Traditional Liquor Export Association (Hall 5, J45) are two Korean associations participating, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the taste worlds of Gahyangju (flower wine), Yakyongju (healing wine) and a number of spirits such as Shindoju, Cheongmyeongju, Shimhaeju, Samaju and Youseoju.

Hand-crafted or artisanal liqueurs are a segment enjoying a particular upswing. Smaller manufacturers bank on high-quality ingredients and traditional manufacturing processes with a view to creating unique experiences for the palate. This results in liqueur creations that are not only sweet but also complex and demanding such as the liqueurs of Peppe GmbH, an owner-managed Swiss company. Specialised in ginger, they demonstrate how strong ginger can also “cut a fine figure” in the liqueur segment (Hall 7, C01). 

Märkische Spezialitätenbrennerei from Hagen, known for its DeCavo Single Malt “cave whisky”, will also be showcasing liqueurs in a wide variety of flavours alongside pure distillates (Hall 7, B31). The “sweet renaissance” of liqueurs is also reflected in the cocktail culture where bartenders increasingly take to sweeter liqueurs as their principal ingredients or admixtures to create sophisticated and balanced beverages.  

The universe of bitters will be presented by renowned companies such as the well-known brand Zwack Unicum from Hungary, on the one hand who make a classic herb liqueur from 40 different herbs and spices, distilled and manufactured in Budapest (Hall 7, D54).  Semper idem Underberg AG, producing its strong bitter of the same name for 177 years, will be launching a pioneering, still limited, development of its classic: the Espresso Herbtini. Combining Underberg’s classic herb liqueur with espresso and chocolate flavours gives rise to a new ‘After Dinner Fusion Drink’ (Hall 5, A02).

Other spirits trends at ProWein 2024:

  • Vodka – The Resurrection of Vodka – This Time with Character!
  • Brandy – the grape renaissance
  • Agave Spirits – The World of Agave – from Mezcal to Tequila
  • RTD – Ready to Drink