German spirits business Borco continues expansion with new brands

German-based drinks business Borco is continuing its expansion with the addition of new brands to its portfolio and novel product innovations.

Borco, which added Hine to its portfolio last year, will be promoting the Cognac to mixologists by taking it to Bar Convent Berlin for the first time, with a focus on H by Hine – the brand’s variant for cocktails

During an interview with the drinks business at Vinexpo Bordeaux last month, Tina Ingwersen-Matthiesen, who is a board member at Borco, said that the German maker and marketer of spirits brands was growing both in and outside its domestic market, helped by an expansion in the company’s portfolio.

“Our aim is to stay independent and to be the third biggest spirits company in Germany,” she began, echoing the views of the Borco CEO Markus Kramer, who told db last year that Borco wants to leapfrog Campari and Beam-Suntory to become Germany’s third biggest in spirits, behind Diageo and Pernod Ricard.

Continuing, Tina said that Borco’s wholly-owned brands were growing domestically, as well as in new markets, noting that the company’s Sierra Tequila is now distributed in over 100 countries, with new distribution partners agreed in Asia and Africa in particular – areas where, Borco sees “the biggest potential for expansion”.

Growth in Borco’s business is also occurring due to the addition of new brands to the company’s portfolio, which it represents in the German market.

Borco’s Tina Ingwersen-Matthiesen

“We love to add brands that enrich our portfolio,” said Tina, mentioning the likes of Hine Cognac and Nikka Japanese whisky, which joined the Borco portfolio last year.

Concerning Hine Cognac specifically, she stressed Borco’s experience with top-end brands, such as The Dalmore Scotch and Champagne Lanson, commenting, “We have a strong expertise with luxury and boutique brands and we have a special luxury team with its own manager and famous bar managers, which is why we have such expertise with premium brands.”

Continuing, she said that although Hine is already well-known with a “wonderful reputation”, Borco would be promoting the Cognac to mixologists by taking a Hine stand at Bar Convent Berlin for the first time, with a focus on H by Hine – the brand’s variant for cocktails.

Product innovation is also boosting sales for Borco, with Tina telling db that Borco’s Paloma Pink Watermelon Lemonade mixer was attracting attention among bartenders in Germany since the company added the variant to the Polama brand in March this year.

“You can add it to Tequila for a special kind of Margarita,” she said, noting that watermelon is a flavour that complements the Mexican spirit, as well as a fruit that’s “associated with the summer and sun”.

Borco’s Hamburg-produced spirits brand Helbing Kümmel is gaining a following in China

Meanwhile, she noted the surprise take-up by the Chinese for Borco’s Hamburg-produced spirits brand Helbing Kümmel – a caraway based eau de vie.

“We sell 1 million bottles of Helbing Kümmel in Germany but we have just started selling it in China, where the people like its combination of caraway seeds and sweetness, and drink it neat.”

Speaking more generally about the German market where Borco is based, Tina said that consumers were trading up to more expensive spirits that had an ethical and transparent approach.

“People want something premium and hand-crafted,” she said, adding, “They want to know more about the production process, and, while they are buying fewer bottles, they are spending more money.”

She also told db that there was “No limit to the size of our portfolio”, noting that Borco currently distribute as many as 80 brands, up from 60 producers 15 years ago.

The company currently has an annual turnover of €320 million, and hopes to overtake Germany’s fourth biggest spirits company, Beam Suntory, by the end of this year or early 2018.

As previously reported by db, Borco recruited Markus Kramer as CEO on January 2014.

Kramer, who came from Diageo, has stated his ambitious aims for Borco, which is headquartered in Hamburg and has a portfolio of brands such as Sierra Tequila, Old Pascas rum, and Finsbury Gin, and operates a distribution agreement for famous spirits such as Fernet Branca, De Kuyper and Chartreuse.

Click here for more information about Borco.

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