One of the most popular products that is grown on the island of Curacao is the Laraha fruit. This citrus fruit contributes a dried peel that is essential in the making of genuine Curacao liqueur. Blue Curacao is one of the most famous liqueurs in the world and is the foundation of several cocktail recipes.
The Laraha fruit can only be found on the island, which makes the Curacao industry small, intimate, and unique. The blue coloring of the liqueur is memorable. As for the actual fruit that is used to make it, most people find it to be too fibrous and bitter to consume.
Laraha fruit trees developed from Seville orange trees that were planted on the island in the 16th century. The Seville oranges did not thrive, so they were abandoned. That would lead to this small, important industry for the island.
Fascinating Curacao Industry Statistics
#1. Curacao is ranked as the 148th largest export economy globally. In 2016, the island imported $3.54 billion in goods, while exporting $2.64 billion, creating a negative trade balance of almost $900 million. (De Kuyper)
#2. The makers of Blue Curacao have been involved in the business of making spirits since 1695. Based in the Netherlands, they are the world’s largest producer of cocktail liqueurs and the 9th-oldest family business in the country. (De Kuyper)
#3. Available in select markets within the United States, the average selling price for a 750ml bottle of Curacao from Senior and Company is about $30 when taxes are included. (Luxner News Inc)
#4. De Kuyper exports about 50 million bottles of cocktail liqueurs to more than 100 countries every year. (De Kuyper)
#5. There are 5 different types of Curacao liqueur which are currently sold: red, green, blue, orange, and clear. Each offers the exact same flavor. The differences in color are because of food coloring that is added after the brewing process has finished. (Luxner News Inc)
#6. In Curacao, the largest plantation of Laraha trees contains just 35 fruit-producing trees. The plantation is able to produce about 200 fruits per year over two annual harvests. (Luxner News Inc)
#7. At a level of production around 200 fruits, about 20kg of dried peels can be created from the overall harvest. (Luxner News Inc)
#8. Senior and Company is one of the smallest producers of Curacao liqueur. The company employs fewer than 20 employees and produces 3,000 cases per year, by hand, at its facility located near Willemstad. (Luxner News Inc)
#9. 85% of the exports which are produced by De Kuyper are destined for North America. (De Kuyper)
#10. Because Curacao is the name of the island, the liqueur branding name cannot be trademarked. That makes it difficult to distinguish which products are authentic, from the island, and which are not. (Luxner News Inc)
#11. De Kuyper is the second-leading brand of liqueurs and cordials sold in the United States, based on sales volume in 2016. More than 2.1 million 9-liter cases were sold in the U.S. market during the year. Only Fireball, with 4.58 million 9-liter cases, had more success. (Statista)
#12. Beverage alcohol is the fourth-largest category in the beverage market for U.S. consumers. In 2014, 7.7 billion gallons of beverage alcohol were consumed. Soft drinks, bottled water, and coffee were ranked above beverage alcohol. (MHW Ltd)
#13. In 2014, the spirits category within the U.S. market grew by 1.6%. At the same time, the consumption of beer declined by 0.5%. (MHW Ltd)
#14. Millennials are responsible for the shift in consumption preferences in the U.S. market. In 2002, young drinkers preferred spirits just 27% of the time. In 2014, they preferred spirits 34% of the time. (MHW Ltd)
#15. Artisan products are dominating the U.S. market as well. In 2004, there were just 50 active distilleries in the United States producing or importing products for sale. In 2014, there were 600 active distilleries. (MHW Ltd)
#16. 76% of alcohol sales in the U.S. are for off-premise consumption. (MHW Ltd)
#17. Imported spirits in the United States have a 42% market share of their segment and have experience double the growth (2.2% vs 1.1%) of domestic spirits consumption. (MHW Ltd)
#18. The sale of spirits, including liqueur, have experienced 16 consecutive years of growth in the United States. More than 213 million 9-liter cases were sold in 2014. (MHW Ltd)
#19. Cordials and liqueurs have experienced the second-strongest levels of growth for the spirits segment in the U.S. market, achieving 6.2% growth with an 11% market share. Irish Whiskey experienced a 7.6% growth rate, though it has just 1.2% of the market. (MHW Ltd)
#20. Although liqueur consumption is rising in the U.S., the consumption of prepared cocktails is dramatically declined. In the past year, this category experienced a 7.9% decrease in overall sales. (MHW Ltd)
#21. The super-premium and ultra-premium segments of the spirits industry account for almost 26% of total sales seen within the segment. (MHW Ltd)
#22. California consumes the most spirits in the U.S. market, accounting for 12% of total revenues. They are followed by Florida (8%), New York (6.4%), and Texas (5.8%). (MHW Ltd)
#23. The top 7 states for spirits sales in the U.S. each experienced a growth rate of 3.7% or higher in the past year. (MHW Ltd)
#24. Despite being the second-strongest brand for liqueur in the United States, De Kuyper experienced a sales decline of 3.4% in 2014. (MHW Ltd)
Curacao Industry Trends and Analysis
Because the Curacao liqueur industry is a niche component of the global spirits industry, there will always be a place for this product. More than 100,000 people visit the distillery where the liqueur is produced each year to experience its distinctive orange flavoring.
To achieve the unique flavor, the Laraha oranges are harvested by hand on the island. Then workers peel the oranges with a wooden knife. The peels are then allowed to dry in the sunshine for a total of five days.
There have been declines in alcohol consumption globally over the past 5 years. Some nations are seeing declines of up to 2%. At the same time, there is a trend toward the consumption of higher-quality liqueurs, which gives Curacao-brand products a boost
The Curacao industry will never be large or dominant. It will, however, be consistent, and experience regular increases in demand as more consumers become aware of this unique product.