top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

French pastis producers aim to raise spirit popularity

One of the only remaining 100% Marseille manufacturers of the alcoholic spirit pastis is aiming to revive its flagging popularity by exporting most of its production under a “Made in France” banner.

Family business Cristal Limiñana has been making 100% Marseille pastis in the centre of the city - in the Blancarde district - since 1962, and now employs 12 people.

However, the declining popularity of the spirit in France - which is usually known under the Pastis 51 or Ricard brands - has prompted the family to consider exporting much more of its production, while still using the “Made in France” label as a stamp of quality and reputation.

Currently, the company exports just 20% of its bottles, but demand for "Un Marseillais" is growing from Germany and Belgium, the company has said.

Maristella Vasserot, general director at Cristal Limiñana, said: “The aniseed market appears - on paper - to be crumbling [and] many people often do not know that we exist. Aniseed flavour is complicated.

“It is a very distinctive flavour, and the concept of adding water to alcohol is a strange idea for many people. But our objective is to export our product to people who know it.”

Cristal Limiñana is hoping to capitalise on the current popularity for strong tastes, such as that in the very popular Aperol Spritz, and emphasise the family-made, independent, Provence-made aspect of the spirit.

It also wants to increase locals’ knowledge of the spirit, which was originally inspired from an aniseed-tasting drink that was popular in Alicante, in Spain.

The most typical variety is the 100% Marseille pastis, one of three kinds created by the company. This type respects all of the traditional elements of the spirit, from recipe to packaging.

Other Marseille manufacturers are also aiming to improve popularity of the spirit, raise its profile, and target the high-end market.

This includes the château des Creissauds, which produces 10,000 bottles per year sold at €50 each (compared to the typical €15 per bottle for a basic variety).

Guillaume Ferroni, an expert in spirits and owner of spirit producers Maison Ferroni in nearby Aubagne, explained: “Aniseed drinks are not products that [usually] have any international reputation. It is a very local market, mainly in Spain, Greece and in French-speaking countries.

“In Germany [and other countries], the image of Provence and the “Made in France” label really helps to sell it.”

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now