Carnival Spirit


With the exception of Chile and Portugal, cachaça values are up and volumes are down year on year in the top seven markets, according to Euromonitor International.

“This market is definitely increasingly about value rather than volume,” says Luttmann. “The quality disparity between the alambique premium brands and the industrial price brands is much more pronounced than in other categories, and consumers and bartenders alike note the difference.”

Portugal, up 24.6% in value and 15.6% in volume, has been a focus for Bacardi-owned Leblon. Luttman says: “The market in Portugal is the largest per capita outside of Brazil, so the awareness of cachaça is very high – it’s now trading up to better quality brands.”

Leblon has also found success in Chile, up 29% in value and 32.5% in volume. Luttman says: “Chile seems to be growing at a faster rate as a result of the strong economy. And we are currently working on our plans to expand throughout Latin America, including Chile.

“Both of these markets are big consumers of the Olympics, so we expect to see some solid growth next year overall.” Luttmann adds that growth has been experienced in all the Latin American markets in general, mainly as the influence of Brazil continues to grow. “The World Cup definitely had an impact here,” he says.


In the US, the cachaça category is growing 5% per annum, and 55% of the category in the US is the super-premium segment – which is growing at double the rate of the standard price segment (IWSR).

“In the United States, we are seeing increased understanding of and interest in artisanal and, importantly, aged cachaça,” says Nate Whitehouse, Avua Cachaça founder. “There is a trend outside of Brazil that buyers are beginning to understand artisanal, or smaller-batch cachaça, and how that differs from the value offerings that were previously available.”

Progress might have been made but Whitehouse says there is still a substantial amount of work to be done in education on the category in general and, specifically, the quality of artisanal cachaça.

“Consumer awareness in almost all markets is still quite low from a macro standpoint and remains the largest hurdle. It is a niche product that is growing quickly, although it remains a small part of the overall spirits market in the US,” he says.

“We believe we will continue to see this grow firmly and organically as more consumers seek out new and interesting spirits and flavour profiles.”

The recognition of cachaça as its own category in the US can only enhance this. Leblon’s Luttmann says the recognition of cachaça in the US brought a “ton of credibility and awareness to the category, especially among the trade”.

For him, the biggest challenge for cachaça internationally is awareness and distribution. “Without question, category awareness and distribution has grown significantly in the past 10 years but there is still a long way to go when you compare to other more established categories.”

The good news, he says, is that the trajectory is positive. “The question is how do we as a category accelerate the growth rate?”