Diageo relaunches Belsazar vermouth brand with an eye to building on-trade presence


Diageo has launched German vermouth brand Belsazar into its Reserve portfolio with an eye to upping the vermouth range’s presence in the on-trade.

The spirits giant acquired Belsazar from Distill Ventures, the Diageo-funded ‘spirits accelerator’, earlier this year. Belsazar’s founders, Max Wagner and Sebastian Brack have retained their involvement in the company.

The Winter Spritz
By The Devil’s DarlingGlass: Wine glass
: Grapefruit twist
Method: Combine all ingredients in the glass, top with cubed ice and stir.

75ml Belsazar Rosé          50ml prosecco
50ml grapefruit soda

By The Devil’s DarlingGlass: Wine glass or highball glass
Garnish: Lime twist
Method: Combine all ingredients in the glass, add ice and stir gently.

50ml Belsazar White
25ml advocaat
50ml soda

The Snowball

Hackney bar Devil’s Darling played host to Diageo’s official launch event for Belsazar, developing a new Belsazar-focused holiday menu with drinks such as the Winter Spritz and the Snowball.

‘With the launch of Belsazar [to the Diageo portfolio]we hope to excite bartenders with this innovative product that will add value and help shape quality drinking experiences for consumers when spending time in the on-trade,’ said head of Diageo Reserve GB Richard Larkin.

The Belsazar range currently comprises five vermouths: a white, a red, a rosé, a dry and a limited-edition Riesling. However, the brand has plans to expand its offerings with bartenders in mind.

‘For bartenders, we’re working on a Sauvignon Blanc vermouth, partnering with high-end wineries with a good reputation to create something with more complexity that might not be as approachable for consumers,’ Brack told Imbibe.

‘We also want to age our vermouths. It was a process we didn’t do in the past because we wanted the whole range to be fresh, but now we have the chance to get casks from [Diageo-owned whisky brand] Port Ellen, for example, and we’re considering cask ageing to really highlight the wine. For 2019, we plan to launch a product for bartenders and something more consumer-friendly.’

Want more Belsazar? Imbibe spoke with founder Max Wagner about the massive growth in the vermouth market – get his insights here.

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