Baileys new vegan drink actually is nuts

Dive Brief:

  • Bailey's launches a break-out product: Almande, an almond-milk enhanced liqueur that is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan, according to BevNET.

  • The company says Alamande has the same amount of calories as the average 5-ounce glass of wine.

  • In a cross-promotion with top coconut water maker Vita Coco, Baileys owner Diageo has created several coconut water-Almande cocktail recipes. 

Dive Insight:

Baileys is an old, well-respected member of the alcoholic drinks community. As a part of the multinational Diageo organization, it can be expected to continue to push barriers and cross new frontiers. That's what Almande does, as a dairy-free, vegan alternative to the company's long popular Irish cream.

But what does vegan mean where a drink is concerned? Is that a narrowly-defined market or a marketing pitch, or ploy? When the product was first launched in test markets last year, Baileys representatives said they were trying to "get with the times" and create a dairy-free drink. The first formulation of this beverage contained beeswax, so it has been reformulated to be truly vegan.

While more than 40 million Americans are lactose intolerant and might cheer this new Baileys for that reason, many others are trying dairy alternatives for health and sustainability reasons. And it makes sense to base a new product on almond milk. A Nielsen report last year showed that almond milk is the nation's favorite dairy substitute. From 2011 to 2016, almond milk saw a 250% increase in sales growth, while the total milk market shrank by more than 5%. In 2015, almond milk sales were worth more than $894 million.

This new launch is a big deal for drinkers, but it's unlikely to have an industrywide ripple effect. While a vegan Irish cream option had not been on the market, many alcoholic beverages are already vegan-friendly. Beer, wine and most spirits are formulated from plant-based materials only and don't need formula changes to appeal to that market.

Filed Under: Grocery Ingredients Beverages
Top image credit: Diageo