Amber Beverage Group plans move into brown spirits

Luxembourg-based Amber Beverage Group is working on plans to fill the brown spirits gap in its portfolio, the company’s CEO has said.

Speaking to The Spirits Business last month, Amber Beverage Group’s CEO Seymour Ferreira, said brown spirits is “one gap we’re looking to fill”.

He said: “I’m not being very specific about whether it’s Bourbon, Irish whiskey, Japanese or French because part of that is driven by looking from an M&A [mergers and acquisitions] point of view on what the opportunities are.”

Ferreira hinted that work is “ongoing” in particular areas of brown spirits, which has been delayed slightly by the Covid-19 pandemic. He said: “We fully expect to go live with that next year. That will help fill that gap.”

Amber Beverage Group’s five core brands are: Riga Black Balsam bitter liqueur, Rooster Rojo Tequila, Moskovskaya vodka, low-alcohol sparkling beverage Cosmopolitan Diva, and Cross Keys Gin.

Low- and no- opportunity

He also noted that the company is looking at “flavourful” low- and no-alcohol products.

“I use the term flavourful because there’s a lot going on in these categories at the moment, whether it be amaros, bitters, Aperols of this world or whether it be in flavoured sparkling wine or even in RTDs [ready-to-drink],” Ferreira explained. “We’re exploring all of those and looking specifically at opportunities that we can develop and which we can fit within our production capabilities.”

At the end of July 2020, Amber Beverage Group announced plans to move into the ready-to-drink (RTD) category with canned variants for Moskovskaya Vodka and herbal liqueur Riga Black Balsam.

He said: “We’re doing a lot with RTDs in the Baltics. We’re not doing that international yet. That would be something we do more of during the course of Q4 and Q1 next year.”

Ferreira said the company will launch the RTDs for Moskovakaya in certain markets this month, including one that is “more about Russian flavours” and another similar to a hard seltzer. He sees potential for the products in Europe, Asia and the US.

“There are many companies going into hard seltzers at the moment,” said Ferreira. “I’m not sure it’ll get the traction in Europe that White Claw has had in Canada and the US. Seltzer is not particularly well understood – it’s a very American term. We’re not focussed on seltzer so much but more on the taste profile which is drier and has less sugar in it. This is something we are working on.”

Ferreira said the area of convenient drinking is “something we are very interested in” and has become “much more prevalent” in the age of e-commerce and at-home consumption.

He added: “I would like us as a business to be exploring these opportunities, particularly when it comes to low-alcohol, low-calorie, low-carb, very natural products that combine very nicely with our technology and our understanding of product development. There’s space and opportunity for us to take that further.”

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Author: Nicola Carruthers

Timothy Kelly

Tim is the Founder & Master Distiller at Felene. He developed his passion for the spirits and hospitality business while growing-up and working in his family's restaurant and liquor store business. Tim’s passion for the epicurean lifestyle has found it’s latest manifestation in the Felene Distillery. Tim is a 5-time Gold Medal Award winning Distiller. He has won a Platinum medal at the Prestigious Los Angeles Spirits Awards and his signature vodka was named Best-in-Category by the American Distilling Institute. Mr. Kelly is also a prolific author and writer and his blog is filled with ideas, discoveries, observations and recommendations to help his readers enjoy life’s simple epicurean pleasures.

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