Gruppo Campari’s CEO has revealed that Aperol's sponsorship deal with Manchester United FC is part of a second stage of targeted international growth for the liqueur brand, after initial success in Europe.

Speaking exclusively to just-drinks today (10 January) following a press conference to detail the tie-up, Bob Kunze-Concewitz talked up the opportunity for the brand. When the group acquired Aperol ten years ago it was a “small regional brand”, he said. 

“We turned it into the national leader in Italy and we’ve expanded north into the central European markets,” he said. 

But, he added: “Now, we are at the second stage of growing the brand internationally and we think Manchester United is a great team to associate ourselves with. They have a great global following of fans and a lot of visibility to really engage our consumers.” 

Aperol, with an abv of 11%, is generally served as a Spritz, mixed with Prosecco and soda water. Last year, Campari took the brand's distribution in-house in the US to boost its footprint

Richard Arnold, Manchester United’s group MD said: “Aperol is an ambitious brand and we have been impressed by their innovative approach to developing on an international stage.” 

The club claims to have 659m supporters worldwide.