Still a vital spirit to pubs

Vodka remains popular in cocktails
Vodka remains popular in cocktails

While the likes of gin and rum often make today’s drinks news headlines, vodka remains the giant of the spirits sector. CGA data provided to SLTN last summer confirmed that it remains the biggest spirit category in the Scottish on-trade, with sales totalling £222 million last year.

Commenting that vodka accounts for 30% of all spirits sold in bars and pubs, Ben Ko-Nkengmo, Star Pubs & Bars’ spirits category buyer, said: “The rise of gin has been well publicised recently, but the hard facts are that vodka is still the number one spirit used in cocktails.

“In terms of an ideal number [to stock], there is no hard or fast rule; however, savvy operators will note that premium vodka is in growth, whilst flavoured vodkas are enjoying even more success.

“This is likely to continue, with the launch of more exciting and on-trend varieties throughout the year.”

Operators should also ensure their mixer range works well with their vodka range.

Jen Draper, marketing director at Global Brands-owned Franklin & Sons, advised bartenders to encourage “shareability” with consumers.

“If bartenders introduce them to new flavour expressions, vodka pairings and on-trend ingredients, the consumer can develop their understanding and feel like an expert in pairing,” she said.

“Being able to take their learnings back to friends and family gives the consumer satisfaction as they become known as the ‘discoverer’ of new tastes and trends within their group.”

Ultimately, operators should “utilise the flexibility that vodka brings”, according to Star Pubs & Bars’ Ko-Nkengmo.