Pernod Ricard today (27 July) continued its divestment programme with the sell-off of its Tia Maria liqueur brand to Illva Saronno. The company sold the brand to the Italian wine and spirits firm for EUR125m (US$177.7m).

Here are five facts about the brand.

  • Tia Maria was invented by Dr Evans in Jamaica just after World War Two and is a coffee liqueur made using Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee beans. The main flavour ingredients are coffee beans, cane spirit, vanilla, and sugar, fermented to an alcoholic content of 26.5% (alcoholic content as sold has been reduced to 20%).
  • The Tia Maria' brand was bought by the industry giant Pernod Ricard through their Malibu-Kahlúa International subsidiary in 2005, for distribution in France.
  • An off-shoot of Tia Maria called Tia Lusso was launched in 2002 by Allied Domecq to take on category leader Baileys. However, the cream liqueur category on both sides of the Atlantic stagnated and in 2006 Pernod decided to de-list the ailing brand after completing its takeover of Allied Domecq in July 2005.
  • Cocktails that can be made with Tia Maria include; Boston Ice Tea, Velvet Hammer, Spanish Coffee, After Eight, Guinness Martini and a Blue Mountain.