Marie Laveau has been created by Craig Hutchinson and Maria Sehlstrom, founders of Ceder’s distilled non-alcoholic gin alternative (of which Pernod Ricard took a majority stake in January) and Celtic Soul distilled non-alcoholic dark spirit.
Marie Laveau launched in the UK in December; and is rolling into the US in time for Dry January. After this, the duo eye up expansion to other countries with high interest in rum such as France, Germany and Canada.
Tapping into key trends: Rum, cocktails and mindful drinking
The duo say that consumers who choose non-alcoholic drinks should have as much choice and variety as alcohol consumer do. “We believe that we need to bring purpose-driven, relevant and differentiated brands to the market, with unique and authentic stories, and that target different types of consumers and occasions,” Hutchinson told BeverageDaily.
Marie Laveau, therefore, wants to take the growing popularity of rum and give aficionados a non-alcoholic choice. (Rum was crowned the ‘drink of lockdown’ in 2020, according to the UK’s Wine and Spirits Trade Association; with sales up 38% compared to the prior year).
The strong performance of rum is credited to consumers creating cocktails at home and exploring new flavours and serves, and Marie Laveau has been designed to be used with a non-alcoholic Mojito or Cuba Libre.
Technical challenges for non-alcoholic spirits
Marie Laveau is a distilled, non-alcoholic small batch spiced spirit. Classic spices and natural botanicals usually associated with rum are distilled to create ‘an intriguing mouth feel and warm tingling taste, but without any alcohol’.
Hutchinson describes the development process of such a spirit as ‘both an art and a science’.
The brand is inspired and named after Marie Laveau (New Orleans 1801 -1881). “Known as the Voodoo Queen; spiritual healer, mystic and adviser that crossed the social & economic divide, her legacy is still celebrated and admired by those who visit the vibrant city of New Orleans and is expressed in this smooth blend of sweet vanilla with a warm, spicy finish.”
Marie Laveau has a smooth blend of sweet vanilla with a warm spicy finish.
“We have been producing non-alcoholic spirits for almost five years, so have developed considerable experience and knowledge within the wider team,” he said. “It is still however a challenge, and we have been working on Marie Laveau for over two years. It has been worth it, as we believe Marie Laveau is one of the strongest products in the market, that emulate a rum drink experience.”
In fact, Hutchinson highlights the development process as one of the greatest challenges and lessons learned from Ceder’s and Celtic Soul - and says this experience and know-how in creating a good non-alcoholic spirit is something that can put Marie Laveau ahead of the pack.
“Manufacturing non-alcoholic spirits is much more difficult than you would imagine, so our learnings here mean we can deliver great quality products, that give our consumers a variety of sophisticated adult drinks.”