Cream liqueur is experiencing renewed growth in Nigeria, spurred by increased interest by consumers, particularly women. It is a favourite of women because it is a type of alcoholic spirits for people who do not like alcohol. The flavour variants and cream masks the taste of whisky or other distilled spirits, and compared to other spirits categories, the alcohol base volume (ABV) are usually tame, between 13% – 17%, which is more tolerable for the target market. Also, the drink does not require a mixer to consume. It can be consumed straight out of the bottle either chilled or with ice.
Cream liqueurs can be described as fruit-flavoured alcoholic beverages that have been blended with fresh dairy cream to produce a liquid that is thick and velvety in texture.
The growth of the segment is being driven by Nigeria’s large population, urbanisation, economic growth and growth of the middle class, with more women working outside of the home informal employment and the growth of nightlife in major cities across the country.
The segment is highly concentrated in the hands of a few firms, but in recent years, the category has seen more brands enter the market from South Africa.
Bailey’s Original Irish Cream Liqueur leads the category with its long presence in the country which has earned it the trust of consumers. The brand, which is of Irish origin, is the No. 1 cream liqueur brand in the world. According to Guinness Nigeria, brand owners of Bailey’s and a subsidiary of Diageo Plc, Bailey’s is made from fresh Irish dairy cream, vanilla from Madagascar and Cocoa from West Africa, guaranteeing that the brand sustains its reputation for quality with consumers. The brand is available in 700ml and 200ml bottles.
Having experienced success with the brand and seeing increased competition coming from South African brands, Guinness Nigeria recently introduced a variant called Bailey’s Delight, which it describes as a blend of Irish dairy cream and African honey, mixed with Irish whisky.
As noted, South African firms have become major players in this category with several strong brands to boot.
Amarula Cream Liqueur from Distell Group, a South African wine and spirits company is one of the leading brands. Amarula is made from fermented, distilled and matured marula fruit, which grows in Southern Africa. It is then blended with dairy cream. The product has strong acceptance in the Nigerian market and is available in 700ml, 375ml and 200ml bottles.
Best Marula Flavoured Cream liqueur is another strong brand in the category with South African roots. The brand is owned by Nigerbev Limited, a subsidiary of Best Global Brands, a holding company which is controlled by Hawksford Trustees Jersey Ltd. South African-based Distell Group also holds a 26% stake in the firm with plans to increase its ownership. Nigerbev has an established trading platform in Nigeria, where the product and other brands are produced. Best Marula Fruit Cream liqueur is a delicious blend of the unique flavours of the marula fruit, including chocolate, caramel, and a hint of butterscotch. Best brands, including the marula fruit cream liqueur, are some of the most celebrated spirits in the Nigerian market for its superior quality and affordability. Because it is produced locally, the brand is by far much cheaper than other imported brands. The brand is also available in small packaging making it affordable to the lower end of the market. Best Marula cream liqueur is currently available in 750ml and 200ml bottles, as well as in 30ml sachets. You know a brand is doing well in the market when bottle recyclers use their bottles to package other products. Best brands 200ml bottle is the bottle of choice for groundnut packers and sellers.
Riding high on the coattails of its marula cream liqueur, Best brands in June 2019 introduced Best Honey Cream Liqueur. The new product which targets women is available in 750ml and 200ml bottles.
Other brands that are making waves in the market include Wild Africa Cream Liqueur, which also has South African roots. It made its debut in the Nigerian market in September 2018 amid fanfare. The product is produced by KWV, a South African wines and spirits firm. According to the brand owners, the product is made from a tantalizing blend of fresh cream, distilled spirit (grape brandy) and caramel. The product is marketed by Ekulo Wines and Spirits, a major marketer and distributor of wines and spirits in the country. It is available in 750ml bottle.
Four Cousins Marula flavoured cream liqueur is another major player in the segment with South African roots. It is produced by Van Loveren Wine Estate. The brand is made from the fruit of the indigenous African marula tree that grows in Southern Africa. This rich and creamy liqueur has an alcohol base volume (ABV) of 17%.
Others that have quietly entered the market include Ilala Cream liqueur made from the sap of the Ilala palm tree (South Africa); African Dew Strawberry flavoured Cream Liqueur (South Africa); Cookies & Crazy Cream liqueur, which tastes like sweet freshly-baked cookies, blended with creamy milk chocolate and vanilla, with a nutty, biscuity note (South Africa); Marsh Mallow Pop fluffy whipped cream, which has flavours of marshmallow (South Africa); Carolan Irish Cream Liqueur (Ireland); Illyquore Coffee liquor, delicious coffee liqueur with authentic bitter edge to its sweetness (Italy); Feeney’s Irish Cream Liqueur, a mix of Irish whiskey and rich Irish cream, blended with a bittersweet cocoa flavour with distinct caramel notes (Ireland); Canari Tiramisu liqueur, a drink with shades of Irish cream, strong whiskey and light notes of vanilla and rum (Italy). The list is not exhaustive as there are more but these are the ones you are most likely to find on store shelves.
With more brands entering the market and driving competition, the leading firms have sought to retain their market share at the very least if not expand it by launching newer flavours. As mentioned, Bailey’s, the market leader in September 2018, launched Bailey’s Delight, which it says is a blend of Irish dairy cream and African honey mixed with Irish whisky. This was soon followed by Best brands which introduced Best Honey Cream Liqueur in June 2019.
Price also appears to be a winning factor in penetrating the market and gaining market share. Two of the leading brands, Bailey’s Delight Premium Cream Liqueur, Best Marula flavoured Cream Liqueur and Best Honey Cream Liqueur have the lowest prices because they have the advantage of been locally produced.
Other brands have made their products available in smaller package sizes to expand their market reach. For instance, Bailey’s Delight Premium Cream Liqueur is available in 750ml and 187.5ml bottles; Amarula Cream & Marula Fruit Liqueur is available in 750ml and 375ml bottles; Best Marula Flavoured Cream liqueur is available in 750ml and 200ml bottles, while Best Honey Cream Liqueur is also available in 750ml and 200ml bottles