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May 10, 2021updated 02 Jul 2021 6:03pm

Campari Group “stronger” after pandemic – CEO

The head of Campari Group believes the company is in better shape now than before the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the increased take-up by consumers of home-cocktail-making.

By Andy Morton

The head of Campari Group believes the company is in better shape now than before the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the increased take-up by consumers of home-cocktail-making.

Echoing comments from elsewhere in the global spirits industry, CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz told analysts last week that Campari’s fundamentals have been improved by widespread home consumption over the past 12 months as bars and other entertainment venues closed their doors. In Campari’s Q1 results, released last week, group sales growth exceeded analysts’ expectations as the company’s extensive portfolio of cocktail ingredients such as liqueur Grand Marnier posted strong increases.

“The benefit we’re seeing from the lockdown periods and how it impacted over consumers’ habits is that the penetration of cocktail culture has grown significantly in-home,” Kunze-Concewitz said. “Overall, our underlying growth is probably stronger than it was in 2019 due to that factor.”

Speaking to Just Drinks in July last year, Beam Suntory Albert Baladi CEO was one of the first to highlight the potential impact of home cocktail making, saying that consumers have “embraced cocktail making like they have cooking and baking”.

In January, Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes told Just Drinks that at-home cocktails had made distilled spirits a more attractive proposition than beer or wine, while last month Jefferies analyst Edward Mundy wrote about “structurally more buoyant consumer trends” in the US for Remy Cointreau because of up-trading and premiumisation.

Commenting on Campari’s results last week, Mundy said the cocktail boom “sets up [Campari] favourably both for the on-trade bounceback as well as longer-term consumption habits at home”.

Campari is better placed than many other distillers to benefit from cocktail trends. According to the company, it owns the base ingredients of more than 90% of the most popular cocktail serves. Sales for Aperol, the main component of Aperol Spritz, were flat in Q1 but the decline was predominantly down to the closure of the on-premise in Italy. Stripping out Italy and the equally-challenged Global Travel Retail channel, Aperol sales were up 26% on the first quarter of 2019, before the coronavirus disruption.

Has the spirits category emerged stronger from COVID-19 fight? – Click here for a just-drinks analysis

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