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Premiumisation of the old to appeal to the new

Raffaele Berardi, CEO Fraternity Spirits, talks to Felicity Murray about the importance of premiumisation and having the quality of the spirit endorsed through winning prestigious industry awards

Raffaele Berardi Fraternity Spirits

Fraternity Spirits was founded in 1994 and is dedicated to creating, representing and marketing a portfolio of premium drinks with a presence in more than 77 countries worldwide.

Renowned for its Tequila Corralejo, the company unveiled a new line of ultra-premium tequilas at the recent travel retail exhibition in Cannes because, explains Raffaele: “Premium and ultra-premium products are vital to a brand’s portfolio. Having a breadth of price points and quality to offer to our customers is essential to ensure that we have products that suit every location and demographic of traveller within the travel retail sector.”

Participation in awards schemes is also important to Fraternity Spirits. Tequila Corralejo won the prestigious title of World’s Best Tequila award last year in the 2015 World Tequila Awards, which was followed by a Double Gold in the San Fransisco World Spirits Competition.

“Awards are obviously a third party opinion about your product, and consumers can rely on that opinion and product endorsement. Participation in awards is therefore most important for us. The judges’ comments give us a good scale and usually it’s quite accurate.

“We can then market our products through advertising and we show off the awards medals. There are several ways to communicate these…the best thing is to have the sticker on the bottle, which then acts as an indicator to every consumer. He sees the medal and he understands that there was a jury behind it.

“The Tequila market is growing, but it is still a smaller category, at least outside of the US. I think in the US it’s starting to catch up with rum and therefore, it’s a very healthy category in this market. Our target is to be one of the five or ten leading brands available in the market around the globe.

“There are several target markets for growth for us. Expectations in Europe for example were very high a few years back but Germany and Italy have, to be honest, not yet met expectations.

“In Europe, the expectation is still there, but it is still cooking on a low flame. Therefore, our current target markets are in Asia. We have a very strong position in India in the premium segment. Because of import taxes tequila is a premium priced product and not something everybody can afford to drink. Primarily the Indian market is about entry level products, but there is a new awakening to premium drinks, and we have a very strong footing in terms of listings with the domestic as well as the duty free outlets in India.

“There is a growing interest in the category in China and Japan, but these markets are unpredictable. Everybody looks at the big picture, but not everybody wants to put in the necessary groundwork at entry level. You need to slowly build the brand so that maybe in five or ten years the brand - or the category - could be similar in gross figures to that of the US market.”

When it comes to targeting new drinkers, Raffaele believes the upcoming generations will discover Tequila as something new and have a very different perception to today’s older generation. “Our generation has probably grown up drinking tequilas of a lower quality – lots of headaches and a lot of bad memories! We think premiumisation will be a game-changer for Tequila”

31 October 2016