Diageo seeks to reinvent spirits category

15 October, 2013

Diageo plans to revitalise the UK spirits market by recreating the food revolution led by celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver.

The supplier aims to increase penetration in the category with a combination of slick advertising and below-the-line marketing such as POS that is designed to make spirits “accessible” and “inspiring”.

Andrew Cowan, Diageo’s country director for Great Britain, said: “Diageo has 32% of the total spirits category and we see a lot of upside for building our share of that category. But we see even more upside for expanding the total category – as the number one player in the UK we feel a pressure to do that.”

James Cragg, head of category development for Great Britain, added: “If you look at the US market for a bit of context, penetration of spirits is 73%. That’s also true for other parts of Europe. Within the UK it’s only 63%. Within the US spirits is 34% of BWS. In the UK it’s 24%.”

He aims to bring penetration in the UK up to American levels by reinventing the category.

Cragg said: “We will revolutionise the category by recreating the food revolution of the last 30 years within spirits.

“That’s a big, bold statement but the versatility that spirits brings makes it possible.

“We think about what Jamie Oliver did in terms of revolutionising food. He simplified it and made it accessible but also an inspiring end result of great-looking food and a fantastic occasion. That’s what we want to do in spirits.

“The last 12-18 months have been a bit of an eye-opener. We have really searched ourselves quite deeply and reset our ambition.

“We are extremely excited about the future growth opportunities. Spirits is outgrowing BWS but we think there is an opportunity to recreate the spirits category in the UK.

“There are things that play to current consumer trends – authenticity, creativity – but the single biggest thing that’s going to drive that is inspiration. Inspiring people to drink spirits.”

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