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Moskovskaya Vodka: the next chapter

Moskovskaya Vodka is on a mission to become a million-case-selling brand by 2025. Benedikt Fimpel, global brand director vodkas, is convinced a unique, modern approach to vodka will be crucial to achieve this goal.

Benedikt Fimpel Moskovskaya Vodka
Benedikt Fimpel, global brand director vodkas

Ten years ago, Benedikt Fimpel took his first steps into the drinks industry. From beer, he moved to lemonades and mixers, before making the switch to spirits, most recently being in charge of global brand strategy and communication at famed German herbal liqueur brand Jägermeister.

Today, he is part of global powerhouse Amber Beverage Group. As global brand director for Moskovskaya Vodka and other vodkas, Fimpel has huge international ambitions for Amber Beverage Group’s vodka portfolio.

“The ambitions of Amber Beverage Group really attracted me to the company,” Fimpel says. “As for our flagship brand Moskovskaya, I saw that we had a fantastic product, a great-tasting vodka, but we needed to communicate the story better.

“Moskovskaya has such a rich heritage and substance, it’s a highly credible vodka brand – it has a lot of potential, and it’s my job to help us unleash this potential.”

Part of Fimpel’s plans for Moskovskaya involve rejuvenating the brand to make it more relevant for younger consumers. Fimpel and the Amber Beverage team see an opportunity to move away from the stereotyped Russianness that is overly used in the Russian vodka segment, and instead create something that Gen Z can relate to.

“I aim to build up an approachable brand based on strong values and a tangible brand purpose. This allows emotional connections beyond the product itself,” Fimpel says. “And rather than relying on our history, we need to connect to a true current zeitgeist of our ‘Zillennials’ target group.”

Experience is everything

Fimpel explains how research shows younger legal-drinking-age generations, like Gen Z, are more interested in creating memories and experiences. “That’s their currency,” he adds.

“This is where we will play a bigger role with our Moskovskaya Vodka, as a genuine brand that inspires and celebrates genuine human connections and experiences forged in real life,” he continues.

“And with this generation equipped with good understanding of how brands are communicating, it helps that we have a genuine brand that we don’t need to stage or modify. In a world of mistrust and fakery, our target consumers are looking exactly for this – brand authenticity builds trust and ensures involvement.”

Moskovskaya Vodka
Cool factor: Moskovskaya Vodka is targeting a new generation of drinkers

Moskovskaya will move forward with its repositioning during the first quarter of 2022. The brand kick-started the new year with the debut of its international brand movie campaign, which will be complemented by further activation programmes targeting consumers at eye level.

“Beyond establishing values and our purpose, we are looking to take ownership of our distinct green colour and build rational benefits around it, especially by becoming a true green brand and company,” says Fimpel. “For this we will launch our ‘green ambition’ in 2022.”

Green goals

Environmental impact is not only an important consideration for Moskovskaya Vodka, but a value that encompasses the entire Amber Beverage Group portfolio. The Luxembourg-based company has implemented eight of the sustainable development goals that are used by companies worldwide. Moskovskaya and Latvijas Balzams, the production site where the vodka is made, focus on green goals such as clean water and sanitation, responsible consumption and production.

With the brand’s iconic green-coloured bottle, Fimpel believes there is a lot to be leveraged when it comes to Moskovskaya’s green credentials.

“First and obvious thing, this is a very distinct brand asset,” notes Fimpel about the colour.

“Consumers might not always remember the brand name or product, but the green colour stands out and is most commonly recalled.”

Fimpel and the Moskovskaya team will build on the brand’s green ethos in 2022.

“The logical consequence now is to further build on our green brand recognition and on top of that become even greener by establishing a large-scale tree-planting programme in 2022 to help us become a carbon neutral brand within the upcoming years,” adds Fimpel.

“We will start planting trees this year, but this is a longer-term process. We have to start now because it will take time for the trees to grow, and as they grow, they will offset more carbon dioxide. These things are part of our longer-term outlook but it’s important to take action now for the good of the future.”

Moskovskaya’s bigger goal is to become carbon neutral – or even negative, offsetting full scope of the brand’s carbon footprint in the coming years.

Moskovskaya Vodka lineup
High expectations: Moskovskaya aims to become a million-case-selling brand
One million cases

Moskovskaya has bold ambitions beyond its green goals, too. This year, the brand will focus on building five key markets aside of the Baltic markets: Spain, Italy, Portugal, the UK and Canada.

“We are well-established here as a brand; the next step is to build the brand more,” says Fimpel. “It’s about creating emotional connections and relevance for our target consumers.”

In 2023, attention will turn to three more important international markets: the US, China and Australia.

“We want to become a one-million nine-litre-case brand by 2025,” Fimpel stresses. “That is still the target. Despite Covid-19, we are in a good position to achieve this. What’s been missing is the long-term brand-building, establishing our purpose and values, and to engage with a young international audience that craves unforgettable moments and experiences.

“If we get that right, there is so much potential for what we can do with the brand. We have an exciting journey ahead of us here at Amber Beverage Group.”

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