Vodka Brand Champion 2019: Ketel One
It’s been a struggle for brands to ignite in vodka even just a fraction of the ﬁre seen in other spirit categories. Global volumes have been steadily declining for the past few years, with sales down from 323.75m nine-litre cases in 2017 to 322.15m last year.
But bucking this trend in 2018 was Ketel One, Vodka Brand Champion 2019. The Diageo-owned brand deﬁed the odds to report 16.5% growth in 2018 – storming ahead of the parent company’s other leading vodka brands. Smirnoﬀ sales were ﬂat in 2018, but Cîroc returned to growth (3.9%).
“Innovation played a role in the growth of the [Ketel One] brand last year,” notes Alexandre Rodrigues, global head of Ketel One. “The launch of Ketel One Botanical, a spirit drink distilled with botanicals and infused with natural fruit essences, is a great example of how we successfully use innovation to recruit new consumers into our brands.” The Botanical spirit range was created by 11th-generation family distillers Carl Nolet Jr and Bob Nolet to tap into the burgeoning low-abv trend. Comprising three ﬂavours – Peach & Orange Blossom, Cucumber & Mint, and Grapefruit & Rose – the range is bottled at 30% abv with no artiﬁcial ﬂavours, no added sugar and no artiﬁcial sweeteners. Furthermore, Ketel One has endeavoured to promote its environmental integrity to engage consumers with the brand.
“Recognising that today’s consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of the brands they choose, we are also inspiring bartenders around the world to rethink the way they choose ingredients and prepare their cocktails to have a positive impact on their communities,” adds Rodrigues.
“Last year, we launched a series of popup bars in London that featured a bespoke menu of environmentally-friendly serves, aimed at inspiring consumers to make sustainable cocktails at home.” Rodrigues also notes “continued improvement from the core variant” of Ketel One. In the coming year, the brand will roll out the Botanical line in England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia, to name just a few countries. “We’ll be continuing to focus on, and work closely with, the bartender community to help to elevate the quality of drinks and serves for our consumers,” says Rodrigues.
Vodkas hailing from eastern Europe and Russia also produced impressive volume growth in 2018. Roust, in particular, reported notable increases in its vodka stable, with Russian Standard up by 2.9%, Green Mark up by 13.6%, and Talka soaring by 27.8%. Meanwhile, Bayadera Group saw success with Ukrainian vodka Kozatska Rada, which grew volumes by 25%. Global Spirits also suggested Ukrainian vodka is very much in vogue, after Khortytsa volumes rose by 9.9% last year, and Pervak reported a 20% jump.
In contrast, mainstream brands faced a tough year. Though Deep Eddy Vodka saw double-digit growth of 10.3%, other well known brands declined: Absolut slipped by 0.8%, Skyy dropped by 4.5% and Finlandia was down by 1.6%.
*The Brand Champions data is listed to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied. All brand data is supplied in millions of nine-litre cases.
Vodka (figures: million 9l case sales)
|Hlibny Dar||Bayadera Group||6.6||6.3||6.9||7.1||7.5||4.9%|
|Pyat Ozer||Alcohol Siberia Group||5.5||4.2||4.2||4.3||4.3||0.2%|
|Magic Moments||Radico Khaitan||3.2||3.5||3.6||3.7||4.0||7.6%|
|Burnett’s||Heaven Hill Brands||2.6||2.9||2.9||2.9||2.8||-1.5%|
|Krupnik||Marie Brizard Wines & Spirits||3.5||4.0||4.4||3.7||2.7||-27.0%|
|Žołądkowa Czysta De Luxe||Stock Spirits Group||4.2||3.5||3.5||2.6||2.5||-2.1%|
|Kozatska Rada||Bayadera Group||1.0||1.1||1.2||1.2||1.5||25.0%|
|Sobieski||Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits||2.0||2.0||1.9||1.8||1.4||-22.2%|
|Prestige||Stock Spirits Group||1.1||0.9||0.9||1.4||1.4||-0.1%|
|Tsarskaya/Imperial Collection Gold||Ladoga||0.6||0.7||1.0||1.2||1.3||14.2%|
|Deep Eddy||Heaven Hill Brands||0.5||0.7||1.0||1.2||1.3||10.3%|