Aperol, Bitters and the Sweet Aftertaste of Sound Analysis

It might be the summer. Recently, there seems to have been a spate of reports, articles and new product launches embracing the Spritz cocktail, an effective if basic alcoholic concoction that used to be largely hidden behind an effervescent veil of obscurity until a couple of years ago.

We featured iSpritz cocktails in a can in our May 2012 overview of new product launches, on the back of resurgent attention from industry publications, tweets and other social media pyrotechnics, prompting a couple of commenters in our blog to kindly explain the origins of the cocktail, while helpfully identifying the key vehicle behind its roaring success.

The magic ingredient in question is of course Aperol, the bitter that provides the spirited kick to the Mediterranean subtlety of its prosecco base, and whoever missed out on Euromonitor International’s analysis on Aperol from as far back as November 2010 was simply not paying attention.

In a rather prophetic piece aptly titled ‘Aperol Spritz: The Next Jägerbomb?’, the massive potential of the curiously fluorescent orange bitter was clearly highlighted, its unique heritage credentials underlined and Campari’s conservative but calculated expansionary moves praised. According to Euromonitor International’s latest figures, the brand’s global sales rose by an additional 26% in total volume terms in 2011, a further acceleration of its consistently stratospheric volume increases since 2006. Furthermore, first quarter 2012 company results continue to underline the brand’s roaring momentum – with the exception of a minor hiccup in Germany – while in the future it is expected to easily outpace the overall bitters category which is set to merely register just a 1% total volume CAGR over 2011-2016.

Recent press coverage belatedly acknowledging the trend went as far as to suggest that Campari should start considering changing its corporate brand name to Campari-Aperol. Euromonitor International’s analysis from two years ago ended like this: ‘The only concern – and one is hard pressed to find one – is the danger of Aperol becoming generically identified with Spritz and hence dismissed as a one-trick pony. But then again, that never proved to be a problem for another obscure, darker hued, herb-based bitter that was little known outside Germany, until it became a global phenomenon’. One might add that as the Jägermeister wave appears to have subsided, the orange tide will rise even faster.