Premium vodkas become cult hit

Premium and super-premium vodkas marketed on their heritage, provenance and style have become a cult hit with brand-conscious drinkers, at up £140 a litre.



Sales of premium vodka have surged 40 per cent rise in the last two years, according to Mintel, which said vodka was increasingly being viewed as a sophisticated and glamorous drink.

Stlolichnaya’s Elit and Grey Goose are promoted like vintage wine, with marketing focussing on food matching, complex distillation processes and tastings notes such as "creamy aniseed notes" and "light pleasant taste of mint”. Leading brands are sold in etched or embossed bottles with clean, abstract images.

"Super-premium and ultra premium appeal to both health-conscious British consumers drinking less but trading up, ‘bling’ culture seeking aspirational brands and drinks connoisseurs seeking less mainstream brands,” Mintel said.

For years Russia's national drink lagged behind whisky as the favourite spirit in the UK, but overtook Scotch as the best-seller in 2007 thanks to a surge in popularity: sales of vodka have risen by 20 per cent in value in the past five years. One in three British drinkers now enjoys a glass of vodka.

Mintel expects vodka sales to rise from £1.8bn last year to £2 billion by 2013, despite a fall in alcohol sales.

Meanwhile, gin and whisky are struggling to reach out to young drinkers; gin sales rose by two per cent in five years to £666m.

"Vodka has done particularly well at keeping the category contemporary and exciting,” said Michelle Strutton, senior drinks analyst.

“Whilst gin, its closest white spirit competitor, has introduced few new products in the past few years, there has been a flurry of activity from vodka manufacturers. As vodka has moved upmarket, a shift, albeit niche, has occurred from consumption via shots or with mixers such as coke or Red Bull to more sophisticated cocktails and long serves.”

Two extremes have boomed, the budget vodkas dominated by the likes of Glen’s and the premium and super-premium brands, which have suitably grand aspirations to match their high prices.

One in 20 vodkas sold is now a premium vodka. Stylish marketing has encouraged customers to spend lavishly on a drink that can be stilled from any raw ingredient; potato, grain, even sugar cane or grapes.

Specialist spirits websites and upmarket wine shops are encouraging connoisseurs to develop a taste for the new brands. Triple distilled Cold River Vodka, for instance, which sells for £40 for a .7 litre bottle, is marketed as a smooth drink with subtle sweetness, “perfect with lobster”.

At £42 a bottle, Stlolichnaya’s Elit is the result of a “unique and revolutionary 'freezing' filtration process.” According to theDrinkShop.com, Elit “evolves from light to medium-bodied with a distinguished creamy aniseed character, garnished with savoury, lightly luscious spiciness and balancing dryness.”

Fashion designers have begun marketing vodka, once the preserve only of Russian and Swedish super-brands and supermarket discounters: Roberto Cavalli’s vodka sells his .7 litre bottles for £47 a time.

The £80 Grey Goose comes from the Cognac region, appropriately for a drink which is increasingly aping the subtlety and sophistication of fine wines.

“Vodka marketers have been very effective in equating premium prices with quality and status,” said Ruth Mortimer, of MarketingWeek.

“There are now so many choices in the premium and ultra premium market that not to choose a premium vodka is itself a statement. A few years ago, there were only really Absolut or Stolichnaya, so choosing one of those premium brands was a statement.

“Now there are countless marques out there, from Russian Standard to Grey Goose; all of which only goes to suggest to consumers that not to pick a premium vodka is to show a level of ignorance about what you are drinking.

“Vodka marketers have also been very good at imitating the wine industry in emphasising the differences in taste and origin between different blends to “educate” consumers,” she added.

“Wine producers have always been very good at convincing people to spend more money by using particular blends, grapes or regions of the world to position their brands as different from others or possessing a certain taste that cannot be found elsewhere."

Suggested Topics
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried