Vodka – provenance and authenticity increasingly important

While the best-sellers remain just that, this highly competitive segment is witnessing a move towards trading-up and going local. We look at the Irish market for vodka in 2016 and what the vodka suppliers will be offering this Autumn and Winter.

While Poland and Russia fight it out for who originated it, vodka continues to sell and sell in huge amounts. And why not? It’s very neutrality allows it become integral parts of so many cocktails.

And where once it was considered to be the pleasant result of distilling grain or potatoes, these days vodka is being distilled from just about anything including grapes and molasses.

But despite the current decline in vodka sales globally the IWSR predicts that vodka sales will return to growth and hit over 500 million cases in 2016.

Even at present, there can be no doubt that it’s a healthy market to be in so the competition remains intense.

Globally, vodka remains the second most consumed spirit accounting for around 15% of total spirit sales according to a Research and Market report The Vodka Market in Europe 2014-2018.


Provenance & authenticity

These two factors will become increasingly important to that vital target market of Millennials.

Various surveys have pointed to the importance of influencing this generation.

For example recent research conducted by Nielsen and on-trade consultants CGA compared the US and UK on-trade sectors to find a tangible desire among consumers for ‘authenticity’ and ‘provenance’ among younger trend-setters.

A reliable spirits category for the hospitality trade, vodka enjoys a 29% share of the US spirits market and a 33% share of the UK one according to Nielsen/CGA.

Elsewhere, a Protein study earlier this year found provenance and authenticity to be closely linked. The study, based on a survey and face-to-face interviews with around 5,100 ‘early adopters’ in 10 ‘cultural capitals’ found that some 22% of respondents would seek locally-sourced product when buying a drink. What’s more, the survey discovered that only 12% of respondents regarded cost as being an influential factor when choosing which drink to purchase.



A recent survey by Morgan Stanley among US wholeslers found widespread belief that flavoured vodkas would decline to the end of the year and as a category not one believed that flavoured vodkas would rise in volume – unlike unflavoured vodkas where some 40% of them believed that volumes would grow.


Irish vodka market

Vodka sells around 744,000 nine-litre cases in Ireland annually according to IWSR.

But the potential for the on-trade to further exploit the vodka market is evident.

Neilsen breaks its case figure of 691,422 (worth €324 million) MAT to the end of April 2016 (up 1.2% in value and 2.1% in volume) down into the 508,156-case off-trade market, up 2.5% and worth €135.8 million (up 1.3%) and the 183,267 case on-trade, up 0.9% in volume and up 1.2% in value to €188.2 million, which gives the hospitality industry 27% of the total vodka market.

So how do vodka-producers set about distinguishing their brands from one another?



Grey Goose Vodka’s Le Grand Fizz


Created with an unrivalled level of craftsmanship in the celebrated Cognac region of Western France, Grey Goose has created a new signature cocktail, Le Grand Fizz, designed to add a touch of French savoir faire to Summer soirées. An elegant blend of Grey Goose, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, soda water and fresh lime, Grey Goose Le Grand Fizz is the ultimate Summer cocktail for that effortless Riviera feel, served in a large wine glass to allow for the addition of high-density ice cubes, ensuring that each serving is kept perfectly chilled at all times.

The iconic Grey Goose stirrer adds a finishing touch and helps recharge the effervescence, giving the cocktail its signature fizz.

“Le Grand Fizz is a simple and elegant Summer serve which is ideal for Summer occasions and really easy to make at home,” explains Grey Goose Global Ambassador Joe McCanta, “It also lends itself well to a range of twists by simply substituting the range of Grey Goose flavours and a corresponding aromatic garnish. For example, if you add Grey Goose La Poire vodka and fresh pear, it creates and orchard-style spritz.”


Grey Goose Le Grand Fizz recipe

35ml Grey Goose

15ml St-Germain elderflower liqueur

70ml soda water

Squeeze of 2 lime wedges



Build ice into an oversized cabernet wine glass, add Grey Goose and freshly-squeezed lime juice, top with St-Germain and chilled soda water, then garnish with two lime wedges and a St-Germain stirrer.



For added aromatics, twist the zest of the squeezed lime wedge over the top of the drink.

See more at





Super-premium vodka brand Belvedere appears to be among the fastest-growing in percentage terms according to IWSR data. It was the first to generate a new standard for excellence in vodka and established the luxury vodka category.

Apart from its Iconic bottle design and all-natural additive-free character, Belvedere continues to make a name for itself in the Irish on-trade through this year’s ‘Naturally the Best with Belvedere’ competition, won by Richard Delahoyde of the Vintage Cocktail Club in Dublin.





Smirnoff is the number one spirit and vodka brand in Ireland with almost one in every four spirits sold in the on-trade being a Smirnoff. The brand is now in its second year of the “We’re Open” campaign and has planned epic activity over the Summer months. Smirnoff believes that being open-minded and inclusive makes good times better for the many.

So the brand kicked off the Summer at Dublin Pride on 25th June as the official sponsor of the Mother Pride Block Party where it brought great theatre to the festival and House of Vineyard Voguers to the main stage. The brand will be showing up across Belfast and Cork Prides too, supported by OOH media, BTL activation in outlets and PR.




Kalak Vodka -Ireland’s Single Malt Vodka


Kalak Vodka is crafted from the best of Irish malted barley and pure mountain water. Four times pot distilled in West Cork, it’s pure, smooth and intriguingly complex.

Using 100% Irish ingredients Kalak derives its name from “An Cailleach”, the Irish Celtic Goddess and Queen of Winter.

Patrick Shelley (former International Director at LVMH Moët Hennessy) founded Origin Spirits in 2013 and Kalak is it’s first brand. Patrick’s no stranger to luxury wines and spirits having worked on some of the world’s most iconic brands such as Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Pérignon, Hennessy Cognac, Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

“Kalak took over two-and-a-half years in development which is a very long time in the vodka world!” says Patrick, “My vision was to create a world-class vodka, one with taste, character and depth as well as purity and smoothness. I was also keen to use an inherently Irish distilling process, featuring the best of Irish ingredients.

“Kalak appeals to both premium vodka and whisky drinkers. It’s versatility and depth of flavour also makes it a popular choice within the mixology world.”

Ideally enjoyed neat or in a tumbler with an ice-cube, cinnamon stick and lemon zest, Kalak’s character and taste adapts perfectly to Martini-style cocktails or simply mixed with a premium soda or tonic water.

Distributed via Tindal Wine Merchants & The Celtic Whiskey Shop.



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