Cachaça: One trick pony?

“Brazil offers such a wide range of cachacas with just as wide a range of flavours. We want people to look at cachaca as a category, rather than a single-drink spirit.

“We started Fio Do Bigode to bring cachaca de alambique to the Nordics and to spread the word about what cachaca could be if made properly.

“Since then, we have seen a small range of great products popping up and big companies investing in the category. This is fantastic and we hope that it is the first signs of a good future for cachaca,“ concludes Riewe-Høgh.

Duff asks: “Will they make it? I think they will, but they won’t be cracking Drinks international’s Brands Report anytime soon.”

Cahchaça may have high volumes but it needs to transition to high

margins. Success will be good-margin but relatively low-volume sales, with

a cocktail focus, in mostly urban



Sugar production switched from the Madeira islands to Brazil in the 16th century. In Madeira, ‘aguardente de cana’ is made by distilling sugar cane liquors. In Brazil, the process dates from 1532, when one of the Portuguese colonisers brought the first cuttings of sugar cane. The pot stills were brought to Brazil from Madeira.

It is typical for the rum to be between 38% and 48% abv. Up to 6g per litre of sugar may be added. Historically, cachaça competed with grappa. Germany is cachaça’s major export market.


Cachaça, like rum, has two varieties: unaged – branca (white), or prata (silver) – and aged amarela (yellow), or ouro (gold).

White cachaça is usually bottled immediately after distillation and tends to be cheaper (some producers age it for up to 12 months in wooden barrels to achieve a smoother blend).

Dark cachaça is aged in wood barrels and is meant to be drunk straight. It is usually aged for up to three years, though some ‘ultra-premium’ cachaças have been aged for up to 15 years.

There are important regions in Brazil where fine pot still cachaça is produced, such as Chã Grande in Pernambuco state, Salinas in Minas Gerais state, Paraty in Rio de Janeiro state, Monte Alegre do Sul in São Paulo state and Abaíra in Bahia state. Producers of cachaça can be found in most Brazilian regions now. There are estimated to be more than 40,000.


The major difference between cachaça, also known as Brazilian rum, and other rums is that most rum is made from molasses, a by-product from sugar refineries that boil the cane juice to extract sugar crystals.

Cachaça is made from fresh sugar cane juice. Rhum agricole, from the French Caribbean, is also made by this process.