Last week, in a series of Instagram posts, Mariah Carey introduced us to her new Irish cream liqueur, Black Irish. Carey, who is Black and Irish (though probably not “Black Irish,” á la Peter Gallagher) has always struck me as more of a Moët girl, so this came as a bit of a surprise. But the more I think about it, it is clear that Mariah Carey is here to disrupt the Irish cream industry.
While Carey made a foray into non-alcoholic beverages in 2014, a pink sugar water called Butterfly that was only available at Walgreens, the development and effort it takes to bring a spirit to market is a more serious affair. “Two years in the making,” says one of the Instagram captions. For a year now, Carey’s representatives have been fighting for the right to use the name Black Irish in the EU – they will likely need to buy the trademark from this Irish distiller so that her product can be sold in Europe.
Clearly she is gearing up for a global takeover. Black Irish isn’t a half-hearted or hidden collaboration. Mariah is all over the bottles, from the MC stamped on the neck to the butterfly insignia above the logo. The brand’s slogan, “A cause for celebration,” is a lyric from her 2005 song It’s Like That. Black Irish is Mariah, and therefore there’s no reason it won’t be a success.
Did you know that Bailey’s Irish Cream is the best-selling liqueur in the world? Not for much longer. While there is no official data on how many people drink Baileys versus the total membership of the Lambily, I imagine there is quite a bit of overlap. Not that I drink Irish cream ever, but my allegiance to Mariah Carey supersedes Bailey’s by a lot, and I don’t think there’s a lamb out there who would disagree.
It stands to reason that Mariah Carey doesn’t need to do anything for money or fame or attention, so what’s left? Passion. We have yet to see the extent of the marketing plan, but a heavy emphasis on the holidays is to be expected, no doubt in collaboration with her cookie brand (???) Mariah’s Cookies.
In 2015 Mariah told Buzzfeed that her favorite Christmas treats are cookies and hot cocoa with schnapps. “I had only had the peppermint schnapps and then someone introduced me to the butterscotch one and it's the best,” she said. Perhaps founding an Irish Cream label isn’t so strange after all, Irish cream is basically alcoholic hot chocolate. As the Queen of Christmas, Mariah is just trying to help us get into the mood with a seasonal drink and a low-grade buzz. That’s definitely a cause for celebration.