WINES & SPIRITS
BRAZIL'S CACHAÇA STORMS THE LIQUOR SCENE
Since the early '90s, when a successful marketing blitz by Absolut helped launch the mania for super-premium vodka, other spirits have been struggling to emerge from vodka's shadow. New high-end rums, gins and tequilas have all taken a stab at knocking off vodka's crown, but the clear odorless liquid remains by far the world's most popular spirit. And now comes the latest contender on the international stage: the Brazilian bombshell cachaça, which this year began making inroads on the American bar scene.
Selling the erotically charged, fast and furious Brazilian lifestyle, the new super-premium cachaças are walking a promotional tightrope, portraying themselves as both a party drink and high-end connoisseur's tipple. Award-winning Leblon, in a sleek bottle in shades of rainforest green, launched an ad campaign portraying Brazilian beauties on Copacabana Beach. Competing cachaça Cabana also channels fun in the sun in its azure blue bottle design. Meanwhile, Boca Loca, a third new player on the American market, seeks to stand apart from the others by playing up its artisanal, handcrafted roots. This unblended cachaça, branded especially for the American market, uses only hand-harvested sugar cane from a single plantation. Still, the Brazilian party is never too far off in the distance—Boca Loca's ad campaign pictures local women in scant Carnaval costumes. The brand's website even features a bare Brazilian bottom.