Vodka – clear leader

The largest component of the spirits category by value, vodka holds 36% of the off-trade and 30% of on-trade spirits sales by value. On-trade vodka sales MAT to February this year rose 0.6% in value as off-trade sales grew 4.3%. Our Industry Report looks at today’s vodka market.

Vodka continues to top the charts in terms of its popularity in the on-trade spirit world, responsible for nearly one in three spirits serves. And the appearance of craft vodkas has only added to the mystique.

If you thought that provenance and heritage would fade from the burgeoning vodka brands range any time soon, you’d be mistaken. The Irish consumer seems to thrive on ‘differentness’, on vodkas they clearly regard as being ‘premium’ or ‘super premium’.

This demand for ‘premium’ and ‘super premium’ or ‘provenance’ and ‘local’ has enabled a number of Irish vodka producers to put skin in the game.

Vodka holds 36% of the off-trade and 30% of the on-trade by value according to Nielsen figures.

On-trade value sales grew 0.6% MAT to February this year. Off-trade sales grew 4.3%.

Overall, the vodka market in Ireland stood at 751,000 nine-litre cases in 2016, up 1% on 2015, largely due to Absolut and Smirnoff sales, with Smirnoff still the leading brand, holding over 56% of the market according to IWSR figures. According to Diageo itself, Smirnoff sales were up 9% in Ireland in the year to 30th June although it’s understood that deep discounting helped the brand compete and discourage cross-border Smirnoff shoppers.


Vodka trends

Recently, The Spirits Business magazine predicted a number of key trends for this year in the vodka category.

“The wellness trend will continue, prompting further innovations as seen in 2016,” it stated, “So far we’ve seen a vitamin-enriched vodka, anti-ageing caviar expression, ‘hangover- free’ liquids and low-sugar variants.

“Expect a blossoming of ‘local’ ingredients led by the provenance movement.

As quality vies with quantity for shelf space, SB predicts small industrial players will lose footing in the market.



Belvedere – 3rd-time ISC Vodka Producer of Year

Belvedere Vodka was awarded ‘Vodka Producer of the Year’ for the third consecutive year at the International Spirits Challenge.

Now in its 22nd year, the competition comprised more than 1,300 entries from nearly 70 countries worldwide. It’s supported by many of the world’s leading spirits producers who regard it as the international standard for quality and excellence.

“We’re thrilled to be recognised by the International Spirits Challenge for not one, but three years in a row,” said Claire Warner, Head of Spirits Education at Moet Hennessey.

The brand also won a gold for sustainability at the 2017 International CSR Awards.

Belvedere Vodka sources its all-natural, superior-grade Dankowskie rye locally in Poland, working with only seven rye farmers. Created in 1993, Belvedere was the first to generate a new standard for excellence in the vodka category and established the luxury vodka category. It’s distributed in Ireland by Edward Dillon & Company.




ISC trophy for Pravda

After winning a Gold medal at last month’s International Spirits Challenge, Pravda, the luxury Polish vodka, has also been awarded the competition’s highest accolade – the Trophy Medal.

The ISC reserves this for ‘outstanding products of exceptional quality’. The two medals will sit alongside the prestigious Gold medal previously won at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and further strengthens Pravda’s positioning as the ‘Champagne of Vodkas’ – one of the smoothest vodkas ever produced with an “exquisitely soft and mellow taste”.

Pravda has been distilled in Southern Poland since 1743 to 40% ABV and for centuries it was reserved for only the most special occasions by Polish nobility. Made using sweet rye grain grown in the fields of Weilkopolska, Pravda uses crystalline soft, pure spring waters from the Carpathian Mountains which are then distilled five times with charcoal filtration – a unique, patented system. Eight expert testers rigorously test every batch.

Pravda Espresso Vodka

Full strength vodka (37.5% ABV) infused with real espresso coffee. Intense aroma and taste of roasted coffee beans and espresso coffee. Makes the ‘ultimate Espresso Martini’ with no need for coffee liqueur.



40ml Pravda Espresso

20ml Monin Sugar syrup (or homemade)

1 x shot Espresso coffee

Shake all vigorously with ice and strain into martini glass.


Imported by MCM Brands, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, a national specialist distributor importing & distributing premium agency spirits & liqueurs in Ireland.

For all trade enquiries contact: 071 9852434;   e-mail:



Absolut Lime, Absolut’s first new flavoured vodka in 4 years

Thirty years after launching Absolut Citron, the top-selling lemon-flavoured vodka, Absolut Lime, a lime-flavoured vodka, has been launched.

During the four years since Absolut last released a flavour, many vodka brands have released overly-sweet, artificially-flavoured vodkas but Absolut Lime represents the perfect choice for classic vodka drinks with a refreshing twist.

“I’ve created many flavoured vodkas in my 30 year career” noted Absolut’s Director of Sensory Design, Per Hermansson, “however, perfecting the complexity of lime has always been a challenge. The blend we’ve crafted for Absolut Lime achieves everything we were looking for.”

It offers a unique flavour profile for the world’s best bartenders too.

“When I invented the Cosmopolitan in 1988, it was really in part a direct result of being handed Absolut’s new Citron vodka,” stated acclaimed bartender Toby Checchini after tasting Absolut Lime, “Absolut has once again done it with their new Lime flavour.”

For more inspiration, visit and follow on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.



Absolut Lime & Soda:

2 oz Absolut Lime over ice in a highball glass, top up with soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.


Absolut Lime Drop:

2oz Absolut Lime, 1 lime juice, 75 simple syrup.

Shake all ingredients with ice until cold, strain into a shot glass. Sugared lime wedge on the side.


Absolut Lime Mule:

2oz Absolut Lime, half lime squeezed and dropped in, ginger beer. Squeeze half lime into a silver mule mug. Add ice, Absolut Lime and top up with ginger beer.




Ketel One Vodka

For the third year in a row Ketel One Vodka was voted the #1 bestselling and #1 most trending vodka by bartenders working in the World’s 50 Best Bars.

This super premium quality vodka boasts a distillery and family business heritage stretching back over 325 years.

In 1691 the Nolet family set up a distilling business in Schiedam, Amsterdam and ever since, it has meticulously crafted spirits using traditional techniques. At its heart, Ketel One is a unique combination of traditional copper pot still and modern distilling techniques. In fact, to this day, the original Pot Still No 1 is still involved in crafting every batch of Ketel One Vodka.

For the Nolets, a family in its 11th generation of distillers, only when it is personally tasted and approved by the family is it bottled and sent on its way.

“We’re not afraid of being different,” commented Carolus Nolet, 10th generation distiller and creator of Ketel One, “We’re more scared of being the same. We’re proud of being a brand like no other. Built around family, quality and heritage, we’re proud of what we’ve achieved over the last 325 years. But rest assured, we’re just getting started.”



Boru is a premium vodka from Ireland, inspired by Ireland’s legendary High King, Brian Boru.

Its greatness is the result of the distiller’s technical skill and dedication to unsurpassed quality.  Boru Vodka is distilled five times from select grain and naturally soft spring water. This five-time distillation process produces a vodka of unusual clarity and exceptional smoothness.

After distillation, the vodka undergoes rigorous filtration to achieve essential purity, a process that includes slowly filtering it through 10 feet of Atlantic oak charcoal.

Its initial entry generates little heat and fills the mouth with grainy sweetness and a long clean finish.  For those customers searching for a vodka with loads of personality and absolutely no bite, burn or harsh edges, Boru is an inspired choice, states the company.


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