Rakı could be seen accompanying meals and mezze in meyhanes (taverns) during the Ottoman times. In the 19th century rakı overtook wine as the most popular accompaniment and although its popularity waned somewhat in recent years, today, thanks to Mey Içki’s marketing strategies, rakı has made a major comeback among the younger generation of consumers partly by playing on the liquor’s traditional role in Turkey’s dining culture, as well as introducing it to international palettes.
Primary target markets include countries that already have anise-based product experience, such as Greece, France, Italy, Spain and Germany. Secondary target markets include the US, particularly its Turkish diaspora, as well as those with connections to the Ottoman Empire, such as Greeks, Armenians and people from the Middle East – all natural consumers who have acquired the taste for such beverages.
“The UK is also a very important market for us – not only because of the Turkish diaspora there, but also because Turkey has been an important travel destination for British people,” says Galip Yorgancıoglu, CEO of Mey Içki. “When these British tourists come to the country, they taste our national drink. Most of them bring some of these drinks back to the UK with them, or they acquire a liking for the drink, which makes it important for us to have distribution to outlets there. This makes the UK an interesting source of business for us.”