Flavour is fuelling vodka innovation

New variants are driving the category forward, drinks firms say

Innovation has been a watchword of the licensed trade in recent years, with mixologists and brewers alike striving to present consumers with their next favourite drink.

The pursuit of the ‘new’ hasn’t been ignored by vodka producers either, as drinks firms have been actively rolling out new flavoured variants of the biggest-selling spirit in the on-trade.

Although taste is crucial, theatre and presentation are becoming equally important, firms said.
Although taste is crucial, theatre and presentation are becoming equally important, firms said.

Nick Temperley, head of Diageo Reserve Brands GB, which introduced a pineapple variant to its now six-strong Cîroc range in March this year, reckons innovation in vodka has “really invigorated the category in recent years”.

“Flavours hScreen Shot 2015-06-05 at 09.57.24ave been key in driving the vodka category as consumers enjoy experimenting with new flavours and it allows bartenders to get really creative with the cocktail menu,” said Temperley.

Cîroc brand ambassador Dan Dove agreed that flavoured vodka can bring benefits to the on-trade. Dove highlighted the premium status of these spirits as a potential sales driver.

“Using premium spirits and mixers will help to maximise sales and encourage trade-up, particularly as there is a real trend for premium drinking experiences,” he said.

“Although taste is still crucial, the theatre and presentation is becoming equally important.”

Pernod Ricard, the firm behind Absolut vodka, has also been engaged in the expansion of its flavoured vodka range.

The firm launched Absolut Cherrys last October as well as introducing a new bottle design for its existing Absolut Vanilla variant.

Adam Boita, marketing controller at Pernod Ricard UK, said the firm is driven by a “passion to transform”.

“This combined with the success of our existing flavour variants, means we are confident that the addition of Absolut Cherrys will contribute to overall category growth for flavoured vodka and drive incremental sales for bar owners,” said Boita.