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Talking super premium spirits with Campari Group’s Julka Villa

Alissa Demorest
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Talking super premium spirits with Campari Group’s Julka Villa

© HILARY SWIFT 2021

Julka Villa, Managing Director of Campari RARE, spoke with our sister publication Formes de Luxe on her ambition for the newly minted super-premium division.

What was behind the launch of RARE?

Campari Group has been acquiring and refreshing brands over the last 15 years and we’ve been thinking for quite some time about how best to drive our smaller niche brands, which happen to be an ensemble of super-premium individual expressions or brands. Our strategy is two-pronged: first to focus on niche brands that typically receive residual attention compared to the ‘giants’ — Skye, Wild Turkey, Grand Marnier, but also Aperol and Campari — and secondly to drive brands in another price tier that require a different approach. The best option for us was to create a division specifically for these smaller brands as it gives both portfolios the chance to bring even higher results. It’s also a very favorable moment in the market as the premium segment has been growing nicely over the last 10 years and is poised for further growth over the next five. Consumers are drinking less, but are drinking better.

 

How is RARE structured?

The division currently includes a dozen brands segmented into three parts: Signature brands, Boutique brands and Opulent brands. In the Signature segment, cognac and whisky (both Bourbon and single malt) are the foundations and notably include Glen Grant Rothes Speyside single malt and the recently reengineered Bisquit & Dubouché cognac. The Boutique brands are smaller and target connoisseurs, bartenders and consumers desiring something a bit more confidential such as limited editions of the Appleton Estate Jamaica brand, in Italy brands like Braulio Amaro, but also Lallier Champagne, which the group recently acquired. The Opulent segment is more about individual expressions targeting high-net worth individuals: Grand Marnier Exceptional Range, for example. Also in this category, this fall we are releasing an exceptional expression of Glen Grant’s 60th anniversary Single Malt.

 

Will you create brands from scratch, or do you have more acquisitions in mind?

It’s a mix of both: either an internal development approach or if there is an interesting brand on the market that fits our criteria and isn’t fully developed, we’ll make an acquisition. Trading up is another option, which is what we are doing with our Opulent segment. We can also launch premium expressions in a bid to create a wow effect on the brand’s core range. Basically the starting point will be the consumer: what do they want to discover and are they willing to invest a bit more in terms of time and purchase inclination?

Read the full interview with Julka Villa in the upcoming Autumn issue of Formes de Luxe.

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