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Trying to Make Brazilian Cachaça a Household Word in the US

If the thought of another brand of vodka is enough to make you want to drink iced tea again, Frisco Fish Distilleries, which is named after the town of Frisco Texas, is ready to introduce its new type of alcohol.

Not since the early 1960’s, when tequila first made its way into the US, has anyone tried to market a new category of alcohol. This January, Frisco Fish launched its new line of distilled spirits to US consumers and is prepared to take on the likes of Bacardi, Jose Cuervo and Grey Goose.

Cachaça, pronounced (Ka sha sa), is the third most widely distilled alcohol in the world, yet less than 1% is exported outside of its native Brazil.

For more than 400 years, cachaça has been produced by fermenting and distilling sugar cane juice. Unlike rum, which is manufactured mainly from molasses, cachaça comes from the first press of the sugar cane plant.

Typically served in Brazil’s national cocktail the caipirinha, cachaça is now looking at displacing rum, vodka and even tequila in cocktails ranging from Cosmopolitans to Mojitos and from New York to Los Angeles.

What makes Frisco Fish cachaça think that consumers will take a liking to this new alcohol? In 2005, cachaça overtook schnapps in Germany to become the 2nd most widely consumed distilled spirit.

The same thing is now happening in Japan and late last year the winning cocktail at the US National drink competition in San Francisco was made with, you guessed it, Brazilian cachaça.

Outside of visiting a Brazilian steakhouse, most US consumers have never come across cachaça, yet its mild flavor and simple manufacturing process allow it to be used with a variety of mixers to create old standards with a new twist.

Frisco Fish does have its share of challenges before being able to accomplish their goal. Current US Federal Importation do not include a category for cachaça. For this reason, all of the cachaça currently being imported into the US has to be labeled as a Rum or Cane Spirit, even though it is not.

The production of cachaça in Brazil is comprised of over 4,000 small manufacturers, many producing artisanal types of cachaças. In order to create some standardization, Frisco Fish Distilleries joined the US cachaça Trade Council to address these and other issues that manufacturers have with selling this new type of alcohol. 

The cachaça Trade Council’s main goal is the creation of a Standard for cachaça that can be used to certify brands imported into the US. Only by using this standard can the TTB create a category specifically for cachaça.

If you see cachaça in your local store, try it and enjoy, we may all be doing a little more entertaining in the upcoming future, thanks to Brazil’s frisky spirits.

Frisco Fish Distilleries – www.friscofish.com
Cachaça Trade Council – www.cachaçatc.com


  • Show Comments (5)

  • Guest

    What to bring back from Brazil to your
    Forget about those little things they sell at the Corcovado Mountains or Pão-de- aÀ§ucar (sugar loaf) . They are a pain in the butt to cary around while you just want to be completly free to have fun. Isn´t that right?
    I bought coffee for the good boys and girls…and cachaÀ§a for the also very good boys and girls!!
    I could pass through immigration customs because I got it at the duty free shop inside of the the airport.
    Make sure you buy the cheaper white cachaˤa for the caipirinha or the more expensive stuff (whisky color) for the people who enjoy to drink on the rocks.
    They will sure dance and sing
    Há…EU TÀ´ maluco!!!! (MALUCO is crazy in portuguese, or better translated as …HÀ€ ..I am going nutts!!! )
    Enjoy. If you have a free spirit personality or wnat to become a little bit like one, you will not regret to go to MY beautifull BRASIL.

  • Guest

    I have had caipihrinhas, and they do bite! I would hate to try getting really blasted on it. The hangover would be a killer.

  • Guest

    From the likes of Rio
    I visited my friend in 2004 in Rio de Janiero, staying in a hostil in the Batofogo district. I had heard of Cachacha from my friend and new I had to have a Caiparinha, which happened to be the welcome drink at the hostil. The people at the hostil became good friends and the last Friday of my stay they had a birthday party for one of the local girls. Cachacha was the drink of the night. I then had to buy a few bottles (no I wasn’t legal on my way through immigration at the US airport) and have tried all that I brought back. My advise, try all that you can while there and buy some at the local beverage stores. The caiparihna is so simple to make with a cut up and crushed small lime, lots of sugar, which doesn’t disolve, ice in a rocks glass, cover with cachacha, swish and swill. think of it as the Brazillian mint julip, a drink that comes up from behind and taps you on the shoulder with a two by four. They recommend having it with their local version of a rice, bean and meat dish, and I do too because too much cachacha is like any good liquor.

  • Guest

    I once bought a bottle of 51 in the US for 20 bucks! I explained to my friends that this was about the worst national cachaca there was (local brands can get much worse or better) they had to try it. I almost killed us that night.

  • Guest

    Ohhh easy !
    The brand is called

    Ethanol !

    5 or 10 years from now, when new technologies will come downstream with Fuel cell
    engines in cars, ethanol will become your National beverage that every Brazilian will have to drink to the tune of 100 litres per capita/year, decree signed by Lula himself.

    Knowing how Lula is a good citizen and patriot he already drinks 500 litres/year to show you : it can be done !

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