Behind the Brand

Edith Giffard Knows What Your Back Bar is Missing

Mar. 6, 2020

At the age of 30, Edith Giffard approached her father to ask if she could join the family’s distilling company as its new head of marketing. Since Giffard Liqueurs and Syrups was founded in 1885 by Edith’s great grandfather Emile, the company had never once done any sort of marketing or branding. 

Edith figured it was time to get started.

“’Oh, no. Why would we do that?’ That’s how my father replied to my idea to start a marketing department,” Giffard recalled. “He believed that we were too small to dedicate any resources into marketing. First, we had to grow.”

Equal parts unfazed and inspired by the challenge, Giffard set to work growing her family’s company, one bottle at a time.
“I was living in France at the time, and each day I would take an assortment of small Giffard Menthe-Pastille bottles and visit all of the bars in the city, and taste out the bartender at each one,” Giffard said.

Within just a few years, Giffard Liqueurs and Syrups became available at bars and cafes throughout the country. Soon after, the distillery began exporting its products internationally, which increased the growth of the brand so much that Giffard could finally build out a marketing department and develop a brand strategy for the 135 year old distillery. 

Today, Giffard produces more than six million bottles annually and offers more than 50 different liqueurs and 80 syrups in its range. Despite being a small, family owned and operated company with historic roots, Giffard continues to be at the very forefront of the global cocktail movement and is often a leader in the trends that have come to shape today’s very best back bars.

Much of the credit for Giffard’s continued success goes to Giffard herself. Under her direction, the distillery has maintained its strict standard to use only the highest-quality fruits, herbs and roots in its products.

“It is very important for us to remain in control of the production process of our liqueurs and syrups, no matter how much we grow in scale,” Giffard said. “It is not only important for us, but for our customers as well, who have come to trust us to provide them with the highest-quality fruit liqueurs.”

Take, for example, the Banane. More than one dozen different banana varieties were tested and tasted before Giffard found the perfect one for the new liqueur. For Abricot du Roussillon, Giffard sourced a local French varietal famous for its enchanting aromatic qualities. 

Giffard’s commitment to quality goes in further with one of its latest liqueurs, Caribbean Pineapple. The liqueur was developed in direct response to bartenders asking for a true-to-flavor pineapple liqueur that they could use in tiki-inspired cocktails. To create the new elixir, Giffard crafted a blend of juicy and vibrant Caribbean pineapples and added them to an infusion of aged 7 year old rum and hand-selected spices.

“We know exactly where all our fruits, herbs and roots come from, which allows us to be completely transparent with our customers,” Giffard said. “That transparency is essential to our relationship with bartenders.”

Giffard’s relationship with bartenders around the world is a special one. It is not surprising for a bartender to mention to a customer that they’re “friends of the family,” as Giffard would say.

“We’re still a small, family owned and operated company. We treat all of our employees like family and we believe bartenders are a part of that close-knit family as well,” Giffard said.

Bartenders also play another central role in Giffard’s success. Not only are they the brand’s advocate, but they are also a source of inspiration for new flavors and innovations.

That’s why it is not a coincidence that the evolution and expansion of the Giffard range aligns neatly with the cocktail trends of the last two decades. 

“We work very closely with bartenders around the world,” Giffard said. “We’re always listening to hear what they want or what flavor they need. A lot of our inspiration comes directly from them.”
Giffard’s Crème de Pamplemousse rose, Rhubarb liqueur and new-to-market Apéritif Syrup were all developed to help bartenders take advantage of specific drinking trends. In this case, the low abv and spritzer trend that has taken hold of the world’s patios.

“Inspiration can come from anywhere and at any time, so we must be very open-minded when in the market. And when we find that need, we need to create the best liqueur possible to fill it,” said Giffard.

“We owe that to our customers.”

Photos courtsey of Sunita Martini (@sunnymartini) and Gabby Porter (@gabiporter)