The top 10 best-selling vodka brands
Despite intense competition and shifting consumer trends, a number of vodka brands stormed to success in 2017. But which were the world’s biggest sellers?
Overall, the vodka category experienced marginal volume growth of 0.2% to 340 million cases in 2017, according to market research provider Euromonitor. Value sales are rising quicker – up from US$64.61 billion in 2016 to US$67.49bn in 2017 – suggesting continued premiumisation throughout the category.
Notable gains were made by Smirnoff (2%) and Absolut (2.7%) last year, with both brands returning to growth after declining or stagnant sales in 2016.
Following our recently published Brand Champions 2018 – our pick of those brands selling more than one-million cases annually that are performing exceptionally within their category – we run through the world’s best-selling vodka brands on the market today.
Click through the following pages to discover the top 10 best-selling vodka brands, listed in order of their nine-litre case sales.
Data is listed to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied to The Brand Champions 2018.
10. Magic Moments
% change: 3%
Place last year: –
A new entry to the top 10 list is Radico Khaitan’s Magic Moments brand, which grew steadily by 3% to 3.7m cases.
In the company’s 2017 full-year results, Abhishek Khaitan, managing director, said: “Radico Khaitan’s existing premium products such as Magic Moments vodka and Morpheus brandy continue to achieve landmarks and lead their respective product categories.”
Launched in 2006, the Magic Moments range consists of six variants: a classic, green apple, orange, strawberry, lemon, ginger and lemongrass, and chocolate.
% change: 9.8%
Place last year: –
One of two vodka brands from Eastern Europe’s Global Spirits that sits in the ranks of best-selling vodkas is Morosha. The brand witnessed the second highest growth rate across this list, with an increase of 9.8% to 3.8m cases.
Morsoka is made from “natural and ecologically pure” ingredients including mineral water, grain alcohol, extracts and aromatic alcohols.
% change: -2.1%
Place last year: 9
The only brand to decline in our best-selling vodka list is Gruppo Campari’s Skyy vodka brand, which saw a decrease of 2.1% in 2017.
In the company’s 2017 full-year results, Skyy’s performance was affected by “persistent weakness” in the core US market, with shipments down high-single-digit due to “strong competitive pressure”, reduced innovation in infusions and trading difficulties following the hurricanes that affected the third quarter.
In May 2017, Gruppo Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz has said he “absolutely” has faith in Skyy, and would “look at turning around” under-performing brands instead of divesting.
7. Pyat Ozer (Five Lakes)
% change: 1.9%
Place last year: 7
Retaining its seventh place is Alcohol Siberia Group’s Pyat Ozer brand, which managed to grow by 1.9%. The growth rate may not be staggering, but is a marked improvement on the brand’s previous stagnant position.
The Siberian vodka is made from water from the Taiga lakes and consists of three expressions: Classic, Special and Premium. It is available in 55 markets worldwide.
% change: 3.2%
Place last year: 6
Constellation Brands-owned Svedka vodka continued its upward sales trajectory to post 3.2% gains in 2017.
In the company’s 2017/18 fiscal year, the spirits portfolio grew by 7%, bolstered by the firm’s “innovation efforts”, including its Svedka Vodka Blue Raspberry. The product proved to be “the most successful flavour launch in the brand’s history”.
Speaking to The Spirits Business in December last year, chief operating officer Bill Newlands said: “Despite the talk about brown spirits, the vodka category still represents one out of every three drinks in this country [the US]. So we still have a lot of opportunity to expand on the Svedka franchise. We are investing more consumer marketing spend than we have ever invested before, and we’re very excited about the potential growth in that area as well.”
5. Hlibny Dar
% change: 2.9%
Place last year: –
Bayadera Group’s Hlibny vodka grew by 2.9% to pass the 7m case barrier last year.
The brand extended its line with the launch of Hlibny Dar Craft Edition in 2017. The flagship expression also underwent a new design, with a refreshed logo and colour scheme for “greater visibility” on shelf. The recipe was updated to become “softer” on the palate through a “unique patented formula”.
In the company’s 2017 results, CEO Anatoly Korchinsky said: “In 2018, the strategic plans of the holding remain extremely ambitious. We will pay a lot of attention to the development of export and expansion in new countries, the development of new alcohol categories in Ukraine, [and] the creation of modern brands. In the near future we plan active promotion in the markets of Asia and the US.”
% change: 11.3%
Place last year: 4
Polish bison-grass flavoured vodka Żubrówka has kept its position as the fourth best-selling vodka brand, notching up impressive double-digit growth of 11.3%.
In October 2017, the brand was launched in two key markets – Georgia and Armenia – bringing total distribution to 40 countries worldwide. Żubrówka also announced new distribution deals in Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg.
In early 2017, parent company Roust filed for bankruptcy as it embarked on a major debt restructuring plan.
% change: 7.9%
Place last year: 3
A strong performance from Global Spirits’ Khortytsa saw the brand storm past the 8m case barrier for the first time.
In May 2016 Global Spirits appointed General Beverage Sales Company to expand US distribution, while senior sales team appointments in December saw experienced execs Jose Guerrero and Jim Amstutz charged with growing the brand alongside sibling Leaf Vodka.
At the time, CEO Maxim Dubossarsky said: “In an effort to position the organisation for rapid and continued growth in 2017, we have realigned our sales team to maximise our market opportunity.”
% change: 2.7%
Place last year: 2
Pernod Ricard-owned Absolut has maintained its spot as the second largest vodka brand in the world by a significant margin. The brand returned to growth last year following hefty declines in 2016 that resulted from an influx of flavour extensions.
In Pernod Ricard’s full 2018 financial year, the brand performed “strongly” in Europe, China and Latin America markets. However, the US remained “very competitive”.
Absolut’s Lime variant, released in January 2017, also performed well. This month, the brand released two flavoured vodkas made with fruit juice in the UK to answer demand from an increasingly health conscious consumer base.
% change: 2%
Place last year: 1
Diageo’s Smirnoff vodka brand is the world’s best-selling vodka, and returned to growth in 2017 with an increase of 2%.
In the six months to 31 December 2017, Smirnoff’s performance in the US improved due to new packaging with “quality cues” and local activation targeting multi-cultural millennial consumers. The brand’s latest instalment of its Only the Best for Everyone campaign, starring actor Ted Danson, was also successful in the country.
In Latin America and Caribbean, the brand’s net sales were up by double-digits, returning to growth in Brazil, its largest market in the region.
In 2017, the brand launched a number of inclusivity campaigns including #ChooseLove for the Pride festival in London and Equalising Music to promote equality for female musicians. Smirnoff most recently teamed up with Ladbible on a initiative to focus on gender identity and disability.