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Brand Building Belsazar Vermouth in the UK

"The premium, craft movement is growing steadily as consumers' values shift towards quality and provenance."

For too long, Vermouth was overlooked. Only pulled out from the back bar for those rare moments when a cocktail or recipe required a drop. Belsazar created a Vermouth that changed the game. Founded by Berliners and crafted in the Black Forest, Belsazar Vermouth combines traditional craftsmanship with a modern urban lifestyle and high quality, delicious wines.

The Challenge

  • A premium price point for the category
  • Low-ABV movement relatively small at the time
  • New-to-market brand and not a focus category for many trade

The Aim

  • Build Belsazar to be the leading premium Vermouth in the UK
  • Establish Belsazar & Tonic as the preferred low-ABV serve
  • Build strong brand allegiance in the trade

STEP 1 Anticipate The Trend

Axiom's ethos is to always remain ahead of the curve – the low-ABV serve trend was in its infancy in the UK in 2014. Alongside seeding Belsazar within the classic cocktail scene, Axiom channelled its expertise into the hero serve – Belsazar & Tonic – and worked with our exceptional Tier 1 customers to inspire the British public with light & long aperitif serves.

STEP 2 Story Telling & Advocacy

Education is key for us at Axiom; our passionate, knowledgeable team travelled the country to do just that. Spreading the word of the high-quality wines Belsazar used as the foundation as well as its unique production techniques – using wine must not sugar – to add sweetness. We told our customers about the extra special sixth-generation fruit brandy from the 170-year-old Schladerer distillery that gives Belsazar that special je ne sais quoi! Our customers fast became ambassadors for this disruptive, innovative brand.

STEP 3 Nurturing The Seeds

TLC is what we do best. Expanding our distribution network, building volume, being the first to champion those headline serves (who hasn't heard of Frosé by now?) and honouring our commitment to first-class customer service; our bud began to bloom. Add a helping of large scale consumer and trade events to the mix and the tipping point was close.

STEP 4 Our Work Here is Done

In 2018, four years into the journey, Belsazar was acquired by Diageo for their Reserve Brands portfolio and an incredible next start chapter began.

Zero to Hero

Belsazar Vermouth became a category leader and was named IWSR's Top Ten Brands to Watch in the Radius 2018 report.