On-trade’s favourite spirit flourishes

NO matter if it is served in a spirit mixer or as part of a more intricate cocktail, vodka continues to be the most in-demand spirit in the on-trade and therefore one few bars can do without.

While the big beasts of the category look to maintain their dominance, bubbling beneath the surface, vodka has not been exempt from the prevalent customer trends towards a greater variety of craft, premium and flavoured expressions.

And a good selection is said to be key to capitalising on the most called for spirit in the country’s pubs and bars.

Riana Gallagher, senior brand manager at William Grant & Sons, the firm behind Icelandic vodka Reyka, told SLTN that a profitable vodka range should “cover a variety of different consumer preferences and drivers”, such as “a familiar option, a premium trade-up, and a more craft or ‘discoverable’ option with  different ingredients or processes”.

Licensees looking to benefit from the move towards Scottish spirits will be pleased to see there has been an increase in the nation’s selection of vodkas this year.

Colonsay Beverages, producers of Wild Island Botanic Gin, entered the premium vodka market with Brochan, which is distilled five times and made with Scottish oats.

The release joins craft Caledonian brands such as Holy Grass Vodka from Caithness’ Dunnet Bay Distillers and LoneWolf Vodka from Ellon-based craft beer giant Brewdog.

Flavoured expressions are also continuing to prove popular, evidenced by a string of new sweet releases like the vanilla-flavoured vodkas from Grey Goose and Cîroc.