Baileys is an Irish cream liqueur.
It is made by Diageo at Nangor Road, in Dublin, Ireland and in Mallusk, Northern Ireland. Owned by Gilbeys of Ireland, the trademark is currently owned by Diageo.
Baileys is produced with a combination of neutral alcohol, triple distilled Irish whiskey, and cream, which is supplied by small, local Irish family farms. The base of the liqueur is additionally enriched with vanilla, cocoa, and caramel, to create the distinctive toffee flavor.
It has a declared alcohol content of 17% by volume.
The drink was invented in Dublin and it still remains an entirely Irish product and one of the most prominent Irish brands. Baileys is usually served neat, over ice, but it also perfectly blends in coffee or hot chocolate, or in a wide array of cream-based cocktails.
Back in the old days, one way to handle an upset stomach was to mix whiskey and cream together. The problem was that the two would only mix well together for a very short time. Bailey’s found a secret way to get then mixture to last.
Baileys was created by Tom Jago of Gilbeys of Ireland, a division of International Distillers & Vintners, as it searched for something to introduce to the international market. The process of finding a product began in 1971, and production research began in earnest after consultants David Gluckman and Hugh Seymour-Davies came up with an alcoholic drink made of Irish whiskey and cream that, they remarked, “didn’t taste punishing”.
The formulation of Baileys was motivated partly by the availability of alcohol from a money-losing distillery and a desire to use surplus cream from another business, Express Dairies, owned by Grand Metropolitan, resulting from the increased popularity of semi-skimmed milk. It included alcohol, cream, and the chocolate milk based drink powder Nesquik produced by Nestle – the initial formulation process took approximately 45 minutes.
Baileys was introduced also in 1974 as the first Irish cream on the market. The name is that of a restaurant owned by John Chesterman, who granted W&A Gilbey permission to use it. The fictional R.A. Bailey signature was inspired by the Bailey’s Hotel in London, though the registered trademark omits the apostrophe.
The original Baileys bottle shape was inspired by the shape and style of the old Irish whiskey crock. Since 1974, the branding and packaging had gradually changed but it was only recently that the bottles underwent a significant redesign. The new bottle is a twist on the traditional shape and reflects the modern moods of modern Baileys drinkers.
Every year, roughly 200 million litres of fresh Irish milk are required to produce the creamiest of cream used in the production of Baileys. That’s enough to make about 3.3 billion Baileys milkshakes, give or take.
This milk is mostly supplied from small, family-owned farms. We’re talking farms where the cows roam freely on luscious green fields handed down from one generation to the next. Some of these thousands of acres are dotted with protected bog, natural woodland, wild meadows and native hedgerows. Sanctuaries for small animals, birds, bees and butterflies. Living the high life!
Today, more than 80 million bottles of Baileys are produced and packaged annually at the brand’s Dublin facility and exported to 180 countries worldwide. America is its biggest international customer, importing
more Baileys than any other country.
The liqueur is so popular that people around the world drink 2,300 glasses of it every minute of every day.
Consumers in Great Britain love Baileys at Christmas. An incredible 39 litre bottles of Baileys were sold every minute in November and December last year – that’s 55,632 litre bottles daily. Baileys Chocolat Luxe is now Amazon’s most gifted alcohol brand and was one of the top five most gifted items on Amazon over the week of Christmas last year.
In 2005, Baileys launched mint chocolate and crème caramel variants at 17% ABV. They were originally released in UK airports and were subsequently released in the mass markets of the UK, US, Australia and Canada in 2006.
In 2008, Baileys, after the success of previous flavour variants, released a coffee variant, followed by a hazelnut flavoured variant in 2010.
The company trialled a new premium variety, Baileys Gold, at several European airports in 2009. The Gold version also was marketed towards the Japanese consumer. The latest additions to the Baileys flavour family are Biscotti, launched in 2011, and a sub-brand premium product Baileys Chocolat Luxe, which combined Belgian chocolate with Baileys, in 2013.
The company released a Vanilla–Cinnamon variety in the US market in 2013 with further flavours Espresso and Salted Caramel launching the following year. From 2016–2018, Baileys Coffee Mocha and Latte was available in Cans across the UK and Europe.
In 2017, Baileys launched their Pumpkin Spice flavoured liqueur, also their Vegan-Friendly Baileys Almande, and in 2018 Baileys Strawberries & Cream was made available. Baileys launched a new flavour, Red Velvet Cupcake late 2019.
In 2020 Baileys Apple Pie Flavour launched for Christmas.
The manufacturer claims Baileys Irish Cream has a shelf life of 24 months and guarantees its taste for two years from the day it was made—opened or unopened, refrigerated or not—when stored away from direct sunlight at temperatures between 0 and 25 °C (32 and 77 °F).