Vodka Overview

30 August, 2013
Ian Wisniewski

“Lifestyle messages sit alongside functional messages, we can’t just do one and we support both. One of our primary communications is about the artistic community and how we collaborate with artists,” says Duffy.

Meanwhile, with an extensive selection of vodkas available in key markets such as the UK and US, the obvious question for consumers is: Which brand should I choose and why? And one key aspect of every brand’s identity is the country of origin.

“You’ve got to be able to help consumers navigate the category and there are few clear designators in vodka. One is the price, another is the country of origin. We’re keen to tell the story of our one-source policy, using grain and water exclusively from the Åhus region of  Sweden. It’s a great story and an important indicator of quality,” says Duffy.

Country of origin automatically links to the ingredients, with vodkas distilled from a range that includes wheat, rye, and barley. Each ingredient also provides a natural opportunity to go into more detail, such as the cultivation cycle. 

“Brands across the spectrum are talking about ingredients in a way they haven’t done before, and I think ingredients will be a key marketing message over the next couple of years. This is a great way for brands to explain themselves to consumers, who engage readily with this message as it’s much easier to grasp than the complexities of distillation,” says Matthew Du Cann, founder of Westbourne Consultants, a leading spirit brand development company. 

A related aspect is how each ingredient influences the flavour of the resulting vodka. The choice of wheat vodkas is currently the largest, followed by rye, with, for example, far fewer barley vodkas on the circuit.

“What else needs definition is how does a wheat vodka compare to a rye vodka, for example, as this would enable consumers to make a more informed choice,” adds Du Cann.   

Additionally, production messages continue to play a vital role, as they have done for several years. And, with so many brands telling their production story, there’s no shortage of reading material. 

“Consumers really want to know about a brand’s provenance, how it’s made, and who makes it. We’re being asked this far more than last year and 10 times more than two years ago, and the more brands that can answer these questions the better it will be. Bartenders are also driving this, empowering the consumer with different bits of knowledge, while social media and smart phones have also changed the way consumers get product information,” says Sam Galsworthy, founder, Sipsmith.

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