Bacardis Ed Shirley believes cocktails are the key to future spirits growth

Bacardi's Ed Shirley believes cocktails are the key to future spirits growth

The head of Bacardi has called on spirits producers to do more to improve consumers' knowledge of cocktails to help drive growth in the overall category.

In an exclusive interview with just-drinks, Ed Shirley, president & CEO of the privately-held firm, said the spirits sector needs to work together on the issue. “If we as an industry can help consumers better understand how to make cocktails and enjoy them we can continue to fuel the growth in the sector,” he told just-drinks earlier this month.

Shirley said that education for consumers around cocktails offers the spirits category's “biggest growth opportunity”.

In a wide-ranging, two-part interview, Shirley, who joined the Bermuda-based spirits group in March last year, also bemoaned the sector's image in the retail environment. “The spirits industry needs a shake-up in terms of how we present the category to consumers,” he said. “If you go down the large aisles of the large retailers, all you see is a sea of bottles, whether it's wine, or spirits. They're not differentiating themselves and helping consumers decide why they should enter this category or this brand.”

Shirley admitted that he is not satisfied with the company's current performance and suggested it has not done enough to tell the stories behind its brands, such as Bacardi rum and Martini. “We'll tell those stories and I'm confident it will connect with consumers,” he said.

Asked about potential M&A opportunities, Shirley suggested the group is not actively on the hunt for anything in particular. “We are going to focus on the things we do have, which we think are really underdeveloped,” he said.

Earlier this month, the company unveiled a new global marketing campaign for its vodka brand Grey Goose.

Expert analysis

Bacardi Limited - Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Partnerships & Alliances and Investment Report

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