Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics - May/June 2017

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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Page 13 of 62

Flavored Vodka 14 Beverage Dynamics • May/June 2017 fruit flavors coming on the market," says Ken Burnette, Vice Pres- ident of Sales and Marketing for McCormick Distilling Co. The company's 360 Vodka brand counts a dozen flavors in its portfolio; the most recent release was 360 Red Delicious Apple. "Classic fruit flavors are the most popular within the flavored vodka category," says Russ Pareti, Brand Director for Stoli Group USA. "As the flavored vodka market became flooded with superficial and artificial flavor offerings, consumers experienced flavor fatigue." Among the top flavors from the leading vodka brands in Control States are citrus, peach, apple, pineapple and various berries, according to NABCA data. The only non-fruit entrant is Pinnacle Whipped. "Pinnacle Vodka's portfolio consists of roughly 30 flavors, with Pinnacle Whipped continuing to play a key role as the brand's best-selling flavor," says Clayton Wai-Poi, Vice President of Mar- keting for Beam Suntory Vodka Brands. Classics such as Peach and Citrus are also best-sellers. "We have found that fruit flavors are performing better than savory or confectionary flavors," says Carl Nolet Jr. Ketel One offers just two flavors: Citroen and Oranje. BEYOND FRUITY TO SAVORY Although still a small percentage of portfolios, refreshing herbal and vegetal flavors have proven successful for some producers. They tend to be aimed at bartenders as cocktail tools. "With savory flavors, we are seeing some small pop ups here and there," Black says. "Potential indicators are that there is interest in that space, but it's still niche." "There have been some fast-growth vegetable flavor innova- tions in the last few years," says Wai-Poi at Beam Suntory. Pinnacle Cucumber grew nearly 50% last year. Svedka launched Cucumber Lime last year, which it counts as a successful debut, along with the spicy Svedka Grapefruit Jalapeno. There are 14 flavors in the Svedka portfolio, with Strawberry Lem- onade, Mango Pineapple and Peach the best sellers. "We've found that consumers are constantly seeking out a new experience and innovative flavored vodkas offer that," Arcos says. Heaven Hill's Burnett's also offers a Cucumber Lime flavor, released last year. The brand's portfolio runs to 37 flavors, with Cherry and Citrus leading as best-sellers, Hafer says. "Although fruit - and especially citrus - are a focus for Absolut, there will always be an opportunity for other flavors," Guastaferro says, citing Absolut Peppar and Absolut Cilantro. He notes that these flavors are more on-premise focused. "They are great in a Bloody Mary." THOUGHTFUL ADDITIONS During the heyday of proliferation, it seemed there was a new flavor introduction every week. Some companies churned out half a dozen or more in a year, throwing new varieties out there to see what stuck with consumers. Now releases are at a more measured pace, with an eye on macro trends and backed by research. "Most of the vodkas that have a very large portfolio of flavors, or are launching a new flavor every couple weeks, tend to use fully synthetic or 'nature identical' flavors," says Grey Goose Global Ambassador Joe McCanta. "Much like a chef selecting the best ingredients fresh from the farm to use in his or her creations, when you really focus on the quality of the ingredients, you're not able to put out a huge range of flavors." That's why Grey Goose offers only five flavors, with Grey Goose La Poire the best-seller. "As the vodka category continues to grow, consumer tastes will naturally change with it," says Hafer at Heaven Hill. "When consid- LEADING FLAVORED VODKA BRANDS IN THE CONTROL STATES (9-Liter Cases) BRAND SUPPLIER 2015 2016 % CHG % SHARE New Amsterdam Peach E & J Gallo 214,420 179,826 -16.1% 5.7% Absolut Citron Pernod Ricard 106,644 107,154 0.5% 3.4% Pinnacle Whipped Beam Inc. 111,906 106,680 -4.7% 3.4% Smirnoff Raspberry Diageo 89,193 95,202 6.7% 3.0% Ciroc Apple Diageo 23,001 94,915 312.7% 3.0% New Amsterdam Pineapple E & J Gallo 100,089 92,876 -7.2% 2.9% New Amsterdam Berry E & J Gallo 96,293 84,726 -12.0% 2.7% UV Blue Raspberry Phillips Distilling 60,827 58,745 -3.4% 1.9% Ciroc Peach Diageo 74,560 55,860 -25.1% 1.8% Ciroc Red Berry Diageo 55,368 44,486 -19.7% 1.4% Top Ten Leading Brands 932,301 920,470 -1.3% 29.1% Others 2,242,295 2,237,592 -0.2% 70.9% Total Flavored Vodka 3,174,596 3,158,062 -0.5% 100.0% Source: NABCA data. For more data and analysis, visit

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