Former Moët Hennessy Managing Director and Stoli Group CEO Hugues Pietrini founded Spirit-Brothers in 2020. Focused on small-batch, artisanal production, the latest addition to the French luxury spirits company’s portfolio is Celosa rosé tequila. Pietrini reveals his approach to packaging development and his strategy to double the company's business to Formes de Luxe.
Spirit-Brothers launched its first products 18 months ago. What makes up your portfolio today?
We have seven luxury spirits brands, including Gouverneur 1648 rum, Belle Rive gin, Mahani mescal, Celosa and La Adelita tequila, which are brands we created from scratch. We also distribute Romanov vodka and Duke bourbon.
What is your market positioning?
I define our offer as haute couture spirits because the products are made in a very traditional and artisanal way: limited volumes, but high quality. Our distribution strategy takes the same high luxury approach. We sell to the on-trade, where our brands are available in the most exclusive bars, restaurants and clubs, and to the off-trade through wine merchants.
What are your sales objectives?
Spirit-Brothers is a start-up that is growing fast. We aim to reach a turnover of just over €3m this year and will turn a profit. The plan is to double our sales each year.
How will you do this?
By expanding distribution in our existing markets and entering new ones. Our distribution strategy is clear: we want to sell in the top places around the world namely exclusive bars, hotels and clubs. We have a vision of the consumer who follows our product - when they go to London, St Tropez, Ibiza, Miami, Dubai...
Today, France is our main market, and we are also present in London, Portugal and the Caribbean. This spring we will open the US market with Mahani, Gouverneur 1648 and Belle Rive. Spain, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore will also open this year.
Are there plans to launch new brands?
Not at the moment. With seven brands in the portfolio, we are fully immersed in the launch phase. Our strategy is very much focused on a single sku for each brand; for now it’s far too early to think about line extensions. We are, however, looking at a few new brand projects for 2024. We also plan to launch a 1.75l format for Celosa that will be sold exclusively in private members-only clubs.
Which are your best performing brands?
The number-one brand in volume for us in France is Romanov due to the size of the vodka market. Rum is quite big in France, so we’ve seen a good start with Gouverneur. Sales volumes for the brand are similar to those of Belle Rive gin; both gin and rum are extremely dynamic segments.
Agave products – tequila and mezcal – are exploding, particularly the high end. With Mahani we are doing incredibly well in the mezcal market, which remains very small. We’ve already sold more than 20,000 bottles of Mahani.
What is your approach to packaging?
I try to work with artists and local producers in line with our “haute couture” approach. Mahani’s bottle is handblown from recycled glass. Every bottle is unique and there is a nice story around the naturality of the packaging.
For Celosa, we designed our own mold and the bottle is manufactured by Pavisa using semi-automatic production. It is then screenprinted and topped with a marble cap handmade by a Mexican artist. Each stopper is unique.
Belle Rive and Gouverneur come in some of Saverglass’ latest stock bottle models. The Belle Rive bottle features a logo by painter Marie Field, who also designed the spirit’s coffret (Lucaprint) intended for the wine merchant channel.
We also created cardboard coffrets for Mahani and Gouverneur, which are also produced by Italy’s Lucaprint.