Brands Report 2021: Vermouth

06 January, 2021

Vermouth is the fortified wine of choice in the cocktail bar. We say choice, but when so many classics demand it (think Negroni, Dry Martini, Manhattan) there’s little choice about it – 100% of our sample stocked two lines of vermouth; 98% stocked three or more.

Traditional brands tend to prosper in this category – the champion Carpano’s Antica Formula was founded in 1786. This barrel-aged sweet vermouth topped our chart in 2017 and 2019 and this year was found to be numero uno in 23% of bars polled. In 49% it was one of three they use. Meanwhile, another Italian sweetheart – this time a vermouth de Torino – comes in second. Cocchi was so close it could smell Antica’s botanicals – 20% made it their first choice, with 48% saying it was a member of their top three. Martini, the category champion from 2018, comes in a range of guises, from Extra Dry to Bianco, Rosato and Rosso. It’s the less expensive option, but doesn’t have the quality credentials of some of its counterparts. For 11% of our sample it was the house, but 43% said it was among their top-three choices.

We have our first French vermouth in fourth. Dolin, a vermouth de Chambéry, takes us firmly into Dry Martini territory – 9% of bars made it their go-to, with a third keeping it and two others within arm’s reach. Mancino vermouth only launched in 2011 but was quick to start mixing with the big boys – it climbs two places on last year. Strong in Asia, this family of expressions, which now includes coffee vermouth Kopi, continued to expand in 2020, launching in new markets in eastern Europe and South America. Twenty-three per cent of respondents said it was one of their top three and in more than half of those bars it was the house vermouth. It is followed by the affordable Italian Cinzano, which was the house in 10% and a top-three vermouth in 26%.

Pernod’s French Noilly Prat was the top-selling vermouth in only 4% but was part of the regular three in 33% – very much a supporting-cast vermouth. Diageo’s great hope, Belsazar, is in eighth and might have hoped to make more progress.

                                                                                                  

Methodology

The results of this report are the culmination of a questionnaire of 106 bars around the world, each cherry-picked to take part based on their performance in global bar awards. We aim to find out not only which brands sell best but also what’s trending. These two data sets give us an insight into the brands that are doing the most volume and the brands that are hot right now.

To read more on the methodology of the Brands Report click here.





Comment

Nick Strangeway

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Pre-made cocktails have always carried a stigma, which I find odd. The romance of watching bartenders make drinks from scratch left pre-batched cocktails feeling cheap to many consumers, but lockdowns have forced this attitude to change.

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