Aperol sets sights on UK

Gruppo Campari has embarked on a major push to establish the Aperol brand in the UK this year.

The move comes on the back of strong recent growth, which saw Aperol listed by Impact Databank as the ninth fastest growing premium spirit brand worldwide.

With its distinctive orange colour, 11% abv and bittersweet flavour derived from core ingredients of orange and rhubarb root, Aperol is being positioned as a more accessible, lighter alternative to the stronger, more bitter Campari.

Created in 1919, the Aperol brand’s profile remained relatively localised and low key in north east Italy until 10 years ago, when the Aperol Spritz was created. It is this serve – a blend of three parts sparkling white wine, two parts Aperol and one part soda – which is providing the foundation for the more international push currently underway.

Having bought the brand in 2004, Gruppo Campari initially focused on bringing Aperol to a wider Italian audience, before extending its reach first of all to Austria and Germany and now the UK.

2011 has also seen the brand’s packaging refreshed, with a more slender bottle shape, embossing on the base and a smaller label to show off Aperol’s trademark orange colour. Instead of recommending a number of different serves as before, the new back label has fallen in line with the brand’s tightly focused communication strategy to focus on the Aperol Spritz.

Emphasising there is “absolutely no sign of cannibalisation” with the Campari brand, Andrea Neri, international brand director for Gruppo Campari, described Aperol as “a little bit younger and more female in flavour profile.”

Positioning the Aperol Spritz as competition for premium lagers, wine or lighter cocktails such as the gin and tonic, Neri distinguished its lighter style from the traditional Negroni or Americano at the heart of the group’s Campari communications. “You wouldn’t have a Negroni at midday when you have work to do,” he observed, suggesting: “the Aperol Spritz is more mainstream, day-life; Campari is more sophisticated, night-life.”

In terms of price too, the Aperol Spritz is being firmly positioned on a par with the premium beer and wine-by-the-glass categories rather than the more expensive cocktail territory occupied by Campari’s Negroni.

Although the brand recommends serving the Aperol Spritz in a simple tumbler, Neri also suggests a Chardonnay glass for those venues in search of a more elegant alternative.

The group is currently focusing its efforts on the UK on-trade, especially Italian bars and restaurants in London. However, Neri points out that the simple serve of the Aperol Spritz also makes it possible to “direct people to the off-trade shelves to make it at home.”

Further down the line, Neri suggested that the Aperol Spritz might be made available in pre-mix form, an option which has already been introduced in Italy this year. However, stressed Neri, “We’re not jumping on the RTD trend which is going down, but the ready to serve trend, which is growing.”

The Aperol UK campaign received an unexpected boost when Sainsbury’s contacted the brand’s UK distributor, Cellar Trends, to arrange an exclusive listing from June until Christmas in 300 of its stores nationwide.

Retailing at £11.99 a bottle, Aperol will be supporting this early off-trade presence with sampling events across 100 Sainsbury’s stores. It also took part in Jamie Oliver’s The Big Feastival, held earlier this month on London’s Clapham Common.

Cellar Trends now plans to recruit a team of Italian spirit specialists who will focus initially on establishing the brand in the London on-trade, before a potential roll out across the UK.

8 Responses to “Aperol sets sights on UK”

  1. jilian evans says:

    I am shortly (next week) opening a cafe adjacent to my vintage antiques shop, and am very keen to sell Aperol along with a limited stock of wines and local beers/cider.

    Having just returned from Venice where everyone was drinking Aperol it is definetely the way forward to a must be seen market.

    As I am in Suffolk, on the East Coast,I should like to know I can locally source Aperol. If you could assist me on this matter I should be delighted.

    Many thanks in anticipation.

    Jilian Evans

    • Alex Forsyth says:

      Hi Jilian,

      Please call Aperol’s UK distributer Cellar Trends on 01283 217 703. They should be bale to assit you in finding local Aperol retailers.


  2. Matt McKenzie says:

    The big question is, why is Aperol so expensive in the UK? 7.50 Euros in Italy and 13.99 in the UK?

  3. Mark Weaver says:

    We are in the process of shipping Aperol Spritzer into GB already mixed and in cans! The price will be very keen and will offer great margins. No mixing one pack and not three ingredients and in a 250ml pack.

    More info? let me know

  4. Tony Bartlett says:

    Can i please have an update on where i can purchase Aperol in the South East of UK

    • Neil McDonald says:

      The brand agency for Aperol has been transferred from Cellar Trends to Matthew Clark. This means that as it’s in the hands of a wholesale company, buying it through them should mean a sharp price. Of course this only applies if you are an on trade customer. It can be bought in the off trade from the likes of Tesco etc (who will still be buying it form Matthew Clark).

      Hope this helps.

  5. Keith Francis says:

    Holiday makers in Italy are discovering Aperol. Having just returned from holiday there, I would like to know where I can buy it in the High Wycombe, Slough, Uxbridge and Watford area.


    Keith Francis

  6. Lorna says:

    Can I buy the little ready mixed bottles

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