A glass of Baileys is not just for Christmas

A glass of Baileys in the evening could almost be classified as a ritual from mid-November to early January. Synonymous with cold nights and sleigh bells, it’s no wonder the Irish cream giant dominates the product category with a 75% market share. But where is the seasonal associated brand hiding for the rest of the year? Supplying the elves and toy makers with delicious refreshments whilst preparing for the most wonderful time of the year? Perhaps to the elves dismay, they are actually pursuing a host of line extensions.

Line extensions are fairly new for Baileys, you may have already spotted the Salted Caramel and Orange Truffle flavours in your local retailers. However, new for spring/summer 2022 is Baileys’ Eton Mess flavour, expanding brand associations beyond Christmas into the summer season. In terms of product expansion, line extensions are the most logical move for a business that is already dominating a product category. However, the challenge comes when attempting to utilise brand leverage to expand across product categories. Continuous marketing communications and brand reinforcement helps consumers make associations between brand and product category. For example, laundry detergent and Persil. However, if Persil were to release a shampoo, you would immediately think of washing your hair with laundry detergent, which would no doubt cause customer confusion and be an unsuccessful extension.

So where does this leave Baileys? An established successful brand that has made a steady increase in sales per case over the last decade but is confined to special occasions and seasonal times of the year, which could lead to missing out on sales. Until 2017, when the Baileys’ can of Iced Coffee was released. I know what you’re thinking. Baileys is in Irish Coffees this makes perfect sense, right? Well, it does and it doesn’t. Although the connection between Baileys and coffee makes logical sense, the distribution method of cans signifies convenience. You pick up a can of Coke with your meal deal or a Starbucks espresso can to wake you up on the train in the morning. The convenience of cans fit the right here, right now, on the go culture. However, does this contradict the existing brand associations of indulgence and luxury that Bailey’s currently possess? Would it also raise a few eyebrows if you walked into work holding a can of Baileys Mocha on a Tuesday morning?

The refreshing line extension of the Baileys Eton Mess liquor seems to be a positive shift in introducing the brand into the summer season. The brand is sharing dessert recipes displaying the products’ potential usage, however, will this be enough to break the exclusive association between Baileys and Christmas?


Shaw, L. (2021) Diageo wins legal battle over Baileys rival. Available at: https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2021/05/diageo-wins-legal-battle-over-baileys-rival/#:~:text=Launched%20in%201974%2C%20Baileys%20is,million%20cases%20worldwide%20each%20year. Accessed 14 May 2022.

Sonia. (2021) Will Bailey’s new brand extension Baileys Ice Coffee, grow the brand? Available at: https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2017/09/will-baileys-new-brand-extension-baileys-iced-coffee-grow-brand/ (Accessed 14 May 2022).

Statista (2021) Sales volume of Baileys liqueur worldwide from 2009 to 2020. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/308839/baileys-liqueur-global-sales-volume/ (Accessed 14 May 2022).




Marketing and Brand Management

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Hannah Chestnutt

Hannah Chestnutt

Marketing and Brand Management

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