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Why can I no longer find Campari in French supermarkets?

The red spirit is commonly used to make Negronis and Americanos but has been missing from shelves in recent months

Campari has a bitter taste meaning it has to be mixed with other drinks Pic: WATCH_MEDIA_HOUSE / Shutterstock

Reader question: My friends and I who live in Var have over the last few months been unable to buy Campari in all four local supermarkets. Do you know why?

Campari France appears to have taken the strategic decision to temporarily withdraw its bottles from shops due to diminishing profits and concentrate on selling to cafes, restaurants and bars.

Rayon Boissons, a magazine specialising in large-scale drinks distribution, revealed the company’s plans in March this year, saying the company would stop distributing to supermarkets on April 1. 

The shops would then continue to sell current stocks until sold out.  

Only Monoprix will continue to stock the spirit, but in a 70cl bottle rather than a one litre bottle. 

Read more: Map: our tour of France by local apéritif

Campari states that it wants to first demonstrate to the French public how its spirit should be consumed, claiming that people are unsure of how to use it. 

Campari sells around 700,000 bottles per year in France for a turnover of over €13million. However, this is ten times less than in Italy and five times less than in Germany, the French consumer magazine LSA reports. 

“It was not an easy choice [to pull out of supermarkets], but it was necessary to rebuild the brand and recruit new consumers," Géraud de la Noue, president of Campari France, told Rayon Boissons.

“It is in the hospitality industry that we can establish new habits and educate the consumers,” he said. 

The red spirit is most commonly used to make Negronis and Americanos. 

The French branch of the Italian alcohol brand now wants to push the idea of the Campari spritz, consisting of Campari, prosecco and carbonated water. 

The company previously did this with Aperol, another spirit owned by Campari, to great success. 

It hopes that Campari will return to supermarket shelves within a few years.

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