Diageo celebrates National Cachaça Day

The 13th September is National Cachaça Day in Brazil and to mark the occasion we caught up with Juliana Ballarin, Brand Manager for Ypióca.


National Cachaça Day is celebrated in Brazil on the 13th September to commemorate this iconic local spirit. Cachaça is the largest spirits category in Brazil and is distilled from fermented sugarcane juice and forms the base of Brazil’s national cocktail, the “caipirinha”.

Acquired by Diageo in 2012, Ypioca has a 170-year history and is Brazil’s oldest cachaça brand. Ypióca is a pioneer in cachaça aging and has the largest cachaça aging cellar in the world, with 8,000 oak barrels and 120 casks made of 9 different types of wood.

To celebrate the brand and this iconic spirit, we interviewed Juliana Ballarin, Head of Marketing for Ypióca:

Tell us about your role as Head of Marketing for Ypióca?
“It´s being a pleasure working with Ypióca. It´s an amazing brand full of tradition as well as history, and my role as the Head of Marketing is to translate this heritage to consumers, reinforcing the brands quality and tradition as well as cultivating local pride.

“The Ypioca brand position is based on this history: “If there’s Ypióca, there’s story, there’s history”. We recently launched a new campaign for the brand based around our “cearense” sense of humour -  not joking all the time but using a punchline here, an expression there, an unexpected rhyme that comes to charm others, people listen and crack a smile… This new campaign is winning consumers heart and raising the profile of Ypioca amongst Brazilians. We are always looking for consumers trends and trying to capture what motivates them with the same passion and commitment over the past 170 years.”

Juliana Ballarin

Tell us a bit about the Ypióca brand and its heritage?

“Ypióca is a very special brand! It´s the oldest cachaça brand in Brazil and has lots of histories that we love to tell. Firstly, Ypióca has the largest cachaça aging park in the world, where the company owns a distillery that has been keeping the quality and the artisanal care for more than 170 years. This craft and care are also reflected in our Carnaúba straw bottle – where legend says that the carnaúba, the tree symbol of Ceará, never dies, or, if it does, no one has lived long enough to tell. Ypióca sought this immortal tree to create its most iconic bottle, then it took the discovery to a group of artisans, women full of stories, who would weave the carnaúba straw and braid it all by hand and between tales. And this is where the magic happens!

“We can also count on the deep knowledge of the Cachaça Master. A specialist in blending, he closely watches the whole process of production and offers his special touch to more than 10 products in our portfolio. That’s why there is a different discovery in each bottle. Think about Ypióca Gold - the care put into its production creates an unmatched cachaça, a gold with golden medals that became the best-seller in Brazil. There’s no denying: some things can only be done with a master!

glass of Ypióca

What attracted you to the Cachaça category?
“Cachaça’s origin is an eternalized legend. There are those who believe that it has originated from “cagaça”, the greenish and dark liquid obtained from boiled sugarcane. Legend has it that, one day, a slave forgot the cagaça store in the mill and with the temperature change the liquid evaporated and condensed until it started to drop (pingar in Portuguese) from the ceiling.

Many believe that that’s the reason for cachaça’s popular name: “pinga”! In another version of the story, Portuguese settlers produced the first litres of the drink in colonial times. It would have been around 1532, in São Vicente, where the first sugar mills were built.

The important thing is that cachaça is rooted in our culture and, today, is one of the most popular spirits in the world - appreciated by people across the world, neat or in cocktails like the famous caipirinha! So that´s why I feel so attracted by this category, from the legend of its origin to its very democratic profile that attracts all kind of consumers.  

What consumer trends are we seeing in Brazil at present?

“Significant changes in socializing and lifestyle are transforming consumer drinking choices in Brazil. We are seeing a growth in low price brands like Catuaba (independently of SEL), Premium Beer as a symbol of status, formats gaining occasions, and brands gaining relevance by offering consumers unique real-life experiences.  

“We can see new and fluid occasions gaining space, from an uncompromising gathering to a high energy party – the more fluid, the better. We are seeing more consumers opting for food and drink choices that accompany their fitness lifestyles and we are seeing more enjoy a ‘slow drinking’ occasion where long lasting, refreshing and milder drinks prove popular. All these trends are also reflected in the cachaça category, where we can see consumers looking to drink better rather than more.