During the pandemic, sales of cream liqueur grew by 22.8 percent, found a Nielsen survey. LS Cream Liqueur is part of that growth as the first Black-owned liqueur brand. Launched by Haitian-Canadian entrepreneurs and husband-wife team Myriam Jean-Baptiste and Stevens Charles, LS Cream Liqueur is riding the increase in alcohol sales.
LS Cream Liqueur Sales Quintuple
According to Jean-Baptiste, LS was inspired by cremas. Cremas is a Haitian creme liqueur made with Haitian rum, condensed and evaporated milk, coconut, and other local spices. During most major celebrations in Haiti cremas is served. After not being able to find cremas in liquor stores in the U.S., Jean-Baptiste and her husband started LS, she told Finurah.
“LS Cream Liqueur officially launched in 2015, but the story really started a decade ago during the holidays when Stevens and I saw a bottle of homemade cremas on our dinner table right next to the rest of the wine and liquor and thought to ourselves, ‘Why can’t we find cremas in liquor stores?’” she said. “It was at that moment that we started to think about how we could introduce cremas to more drinkers, and decided that instead of making bottled cremas, we could take the taste and put it into the form of a cream liqueur.”
When people were quarantined during the pandemic, LS Liqueur sales skyrocketed.
“Currently, we’re on track to quintuple our [yearly] revenue from this time last year. We believe that can be not only credited to the amazing liqueur we’re producing, but a rise in the cream liqueur category as a whole and consumers continuing to shift their drinking preferences to favor premium spirits and mixers,” said Jean-Baptiste.
Goodbye Corporate America, Hello Entrepreneurship
LS Cream Liqueur was a hard-fought dream, and the couple made many sacrifices to build the brand, Jean-Baptiste explained.
“To date, we’ve been able to grow the LS Cream Liqueur brand through a ton of hard work,
including me and Stevens traveling all over Canada and the U.S. to get LS on shelves, as well as with the help of some amazing investors like Lifestyle Expert Kenny Burns who continue to champion the brand,” said Jean-Baptiste.
“The road has not been easy. We both had great corporate jobs, a house, and two young
children who were 3 and 1 years old when we started this journey,” she added.
The two decided to take a chance on their business idea. “I knew we had something good on our hands, so we made the decision that I would keep my full-time job while Stevens concentrated 100 percent on the business. We have invested all of the money from sales back into the business and have even had to downsize our home, but we are passionate about LS Cream Liqueur and introducing an important piece of our Haitian culture to the world.”
Jean-Baptiste noted that their hard work helped LS Cream Liqueur expand around the country.
“We’re available both online and in stores, and LS Cream Liqueur is currently available to ship to most states via Reserve Bar. That said, our primary focus as of late has been to drive more attention and accessibility of LS Cream Liqueur in stores, bars and restaurants. Last month, we expanded our U.S. footprint so we’re now available on shelves in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, D.C., Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York.”
Branding Family Recipe
Not only does LS Cream Liqueur proudly tout its Haitian heritage, it is based on a Charles family recipe.
Jean-Baptiste explained there is a tradition behind their liqueur recipe. “LS Cream Liqueur is inspired by Stevens’ late grandmother’s handwritten cremas recipe,” she said. “Our family has made her cremas and cherished the recipe for generations, and we knew everyone else would love it too. We decided to name the liqueur LS because it’s a fusion of Stevens and his grandmother’s initials, so it’s an homage to her recipe and the tradition of family that LS represents.”
While cremas isn’t as well-known outside Caribbean cultures, Jean-Baptiste is confident that the drink will find a wide customer base in the U.S.
“While Stevens and I grew up enjoying cremas traditionally at moments of celebration like
holidays, weddings, baptisms, etc., we know that LS Cream Liqueur has a place in the everyday just as much as at celebratory moments,” said Jean-Baptiste, who said she and Charles came up with a way for Americans to understand cremas.
“We’ve created a cocktail booklet, recipes and additional content to show the everyday accessibility of LS. It can be a luxury touch to an espresso martini, paired up with your favorite spirit, a boozy touch to desserts like tiramisu, or enjoyed on its own over ice,” she explained.
Jean-Baptiste noted that since she and Charles introduced cremas to their friends they have loved the drink.
“We tested this out firsthand when we first ideated LS Cream. We brought a bottle of homemade cremas, made using Stevens’ family recipe, to a friend’s birthday party and put it next to the other liquor and wine without telling anyone what it was. Everyone started tasting it and raving about it, proving our theory that this is a spirit that does not just appeal to Haitians,” said Jean-Baptiste.
“People from all nationalities and backgrounds are enjoying this new taste profile in the cream category. The fact that LS has all natural ingredients, is low in lactose, gluten-free and doesn’t need to be refrigerated once open are all elements that makes our product premium, and people are enjoying that. Today, LS Cream Liqueur is presented to the modern drinker as a premium, shelf-stable liqueur, perfect for celebrating everyday moments,” added Jean-Baptiste.
LS Cream Hopes to Bring More Black Representation to the Liqueur Industry
While LS Cream is a success now, Jean-Baptiste said it was challenging not to see other Black people in the liqueur industry.
“One of the biggest challenges we faced early on was the lack of representation in the liquor
industry. It was challenging to sit at tables where no one else looked like us. We’re happy to see that now more and more BIPOC brands are emerging and making their way into the wine and spirits industry,” she said.
LS Cream Set to Expand in 2022
“We are looking forward to growing the brand and becoming available in stores in additional
markets. We are working towards making LS Cream synonymous with premium cream liqueurs. We’re also working on something special for 2022 and cannot wait to share when the time comes!” said Jean-Baptiste.