World’s largest vodka marketsBy Amy Hopkins
While growth in the vodka category may have slowed, there are some countries which maintain their rapacious thirst for the world’s largest internationally traded spirit.
The boom in flavoured vodka over recent years has seen sales surge in many markets, as has an ongoing premiumisation in the category.
It will come as no surprise that the spirit remains most popular in its Eastern European heartland, yet sales have remained largely flat as consumers switch to alternative spirits categories.
Despite this shift, global vodka sales still reached 493.9m nine-litre cases last year, and is still the world’s second-largest spirit category, and the world’s largest internationally traded spirit.
But which countries consume the most vodka?
Based on Euromonitor’s findings of how many litres of vodka were consumed in 2012, we count down five of the world’s largest vodka markets.
See which spirits are predicted to reign supreme this year in our vodka brands to watch 2014.
As part of the Eastern Europe constituency where vodka finds its most enthusiastic market, it’s probably no surprise Belarus sits fifth on our list of the world’s largest vodka markets.
With sales of 147.9 million litres of vodka, the country is a prime destination for both established and upcoming brands.
Recent figures also show that total spirits in Belarus for 2012 was 168.4 million litres, emphasising the dominance of the vodka category.
Despite the recent discovery of a vodka vending machine in the Ukraine, part of Eastern Europe ongoing bootleg alcohol problems, the country boasts impressive vodka sales at 242.5 million litres consumed in 2012.
However, figures released by Euromonitor last year show that overall spirits sales in the country dramatically dropped 29.4% between 2007 and 2012, with no great growth predicted over the next five years.
With much global interest in its own vodkas, Poland is well-known as an enthusiastic vodka-producing and consuming country, buying 281.2 million litres in 2012.
In terms of the entire spirits category, Poland boasts growth of 15.5% from 2007-2012, with a predicted growth of 1.8% between 2012 and 2017.
Bucking the Eastern European trend, the US is viewed as an ideal outlet for top end vodka brands as well as flavoured vodkas, consuming 622.8 million litres of the spirit in 2012.
Consuming some 70% of the world’s super-premium vodka, the US is thought by commentators to offer the category some stability in the face of pervasive bootlegging in Eastern Europe.
By far the world’s largest market for vodka, consuming 1.37 billion litres in 2012, Russia stays true to its staple spirit.
However, as predicted by many, president Putin’s steep rises in minimum pricing and tax hikes have reinvigorated the black market – which is said to account for 35-50% of total sales.
Despite this, Russia was found to have consumed 1.7 billion litres of spirits in 2012, yet a decline of 13% has been forecast between 2012 and 2017.