Vodka – The Clear Winner
A quick look at the sales figures is all you need to appreciate how important vodka is to the licensed sector.
Non-flavoured vodka is the largest category in the on trade with a 30.6% volume share of total spirits.
That means the trade sold 1.872m 9-litre cases (or over 24 million 70cl bottle) in the yearending 28 January, making the category worth £1.78bn for operators.
Then there’s flavoured vodka to add, which has a 1.3% volume share of total spirits, equating to 80,000 9-litre cases. That’s worth another £91m to the category. All of this means that getting your vodka offering right is critical to your sales success. Here’s some information that will help you:
Absolut Blue is the number one premium vodka with volumes up 13% compared to last year, outperforming the vodka category leader, Smirnoff, which was up just 2%. Absolut is also the number one flavoured vodka brand in Great Britain with volumes up 8% compared to last year, while the other main flavoured vodka brand, Smirnoff, is down 23% from last year. Absolut’s growth can be attributed to a diverse portfolio of flavours led by Absolut Vanilla (the number one flavoured vodka in the on trade), Absolut Raspberri (number one flavoured vodka across both on and off trade) and finally Absolut Citron.
However, it’s important to look beyond the mainstream brands when deciding on stock for your customers. Just like with craft ales and cider,
drinkers – and especially younger drinkers – are constantly looking for new and exciting options. Ignore craft and boutique vodkas and you’re ignoring real sales potential!
A huge part of vodka’s success is its presence as a key ingredient in a great many of the on trade’s top selling cocktails. Think Espresso Martini and Pornstar Martini, long mixed drinks like a Long Island Iced Tea and finally classics like a Cosmopolitan and you’ve got vodka as a starting ingredient.
The cocktail market in Great Britain is worth £468m, with over 35,000 outlets selling cocktails (up 37% in just two years). Although bars are still a heartland for cocktails – where 73% of outlets serve the on trend drinks – the biggest growth areas are around the ‘with food’ occasion as restaurants and food pubs capitalise in on the trending category. It is interesting to note that 36.5% of food pubs now sell cocktails, which is up 10.4% against last year and 29.3% of restaurants sell cocktails – up 9.1% from last year.
Vodka is used in nearly two thirds of cocktails, proving just how versatile the spirit is.