Thirst for 'affordable luxuries' helps drinks giant Diageo hit £1bn sales

  • @LauraHChesters

A thirst for "affordable" luxuries, in the shape of expensive cocktails in the trendiest bars, has helped global drinks giant Diageo record more than £1 billion in sales of its high end liquor in the past year.

It now plans to step up its expansion in the sector by taking on new partners to sell its booze. It has hired 250 specialists to work with every “trendsetting” cocktail bar owner and individual “mixologist” in top clubs globally and plans to drastically grow its market share from the current 15 per cent.

The world’s largest drinks group has already seen a big jump in sales within its “luxury” spirits category, known as its Reserve business, which includes Ciroc vodka, Johnnie Walker Gold Label whisky and Ron Zacapa rum.

Nick Temperley, head of Reserve Brands in Britain, said: “Cocktails are having a resurgence. Despite the economy people still want to buy better and still want to treat themselves.”

Rudy Paoli, managing director of Diageo Reserve told City analysts that it will grow the business through its hands on sales teams and tailored events. Diageo already runs an annual cocktail making competition called World Class and has focused on marketing events such as London Cocktail Week earlier this month and it plans other events to boost sales.