Vodka Brand Champion 2022: Cîroc
The vodka category has been slower in growth compared with other categories, such as Tequila. In 2021, the category grew by 1.5% in volume to 327.1 million nine-litre cases.
Flavour innovations and line extensions into ready-to-drink (RTD) products have helped to keep consumers interested.
The performance of the world’s biggest vodkas was largely positive in 2021 as most of the million-case players recovered sales after a year of pandemic-induced losses. But it was Cîroc that stood out from the crowd last year.
The Diageo-owned brand scooped the Vodka Brand Champion 2022 title after returning to growth following several years of declines. Cîroc rose by 27.6% to 2.2m cases in 2021, just surpassing its high point of 2.1m cases in 2018.
Sara Sundholm, global head of Cîroc, says the vodka sector’s continued premiumisation, led by “strong” growth rates in the super-premium segment, helped the brand to increase its volume. “As consumers emerge from lockdowns, they’re reconnecting with sense of freedom and possibility, and the reopening of the on-trade has benefitted the brand, which is strongly associated with a sense of elevated fun and celebration,” says Sundholm.
Flavoured line extensions have also been instrumental to the brand’s growth. During 2021, Cîroc released several limited edition variants with brand partner and rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, including a pomegranate flavour and spirit drink Summer Citrus.
“Cîroc has also been able to capitalise on the growth in flavoured vodkas, with our premium and much desired range of delicious flavours, and successful launches of new flavours, both limited edition as well as permanent,” Sundholm adds.
The brand reported a “strong performance” in the US, its biggest market, as well as “strong growth rates” in areas such as Great Britain, and Southern and Northern Europe. Cîroc intends to build on this newfound momentum further in 2022, and already entered the booming RTD sector earlier this year with a four-strong canned range.
Sundholm notes that innovation will continue to be important for the brand in the year ahead, with new products in the pipeline. “We will also continue to activate collaborations, influencer partnerships and impactful on-trade experiences that continue to drive relevance and talkability with our diverse consumer base,” she says.
Diageo’s other core vodka brands, Smirnoff and Ketel One, also recorded double-digit increases in 2021, marking their joint return to growth after 2020. Pernod Ricard’s Absolut brand also had a solid year, up by 22.3% to 11.7m cases.
The growth meant the brand has taken back its position as the world’s second-biggest vodka. Bacardi’s Grey Goose grew by more than a third to nearly 4m cases.
Brown-Forman’s Finlandia also bounced back with a 10.6% rise, but it failed to recover to 2019 levels. It was an unfortunate year for several Polish vodka brands. Marie Brizard’s Sobieski, for example, slipped closer towards falling below the million-case threshold with an 8.1% drop.
A number of Russian brands were omitted from this year’s list in support of Ukraine amid the former’s invasion of Ukraine.
Figures: million 9l-case sales
|Żubrówka||Central European Distribution Corporation International||7.9||8.6||9.7||10.0||10.8||8.2%|
|Soplica||Central European Distribution Corporation International||3.5||3.9||4.2||4.3||4.6||7.7%|
|Magic Moments||Radico Khaitan||3.7||4.0||4.2||3.5||3.7||4.0%|
|Żołądkowa De Luxe||Stock Spirits Group||2.6||2.5||2.7||2.8||3.1||9.4%|
|Burnett’s||Heaven Hill Brands||2.9||2.8||2.8||2.5||2.2||-10.1%|
|Deep Eddy||Heaven Hill Brands||1.2||1.3||1.4||1.5||1.8||22.1%|
|Prestige||Stock Spirits Group||1.4||1.4||1.7||1.5||1.7||10.3%|
|Żytniówka||Central European Distribution Corporation International||1.9||2.1||2.1||2.2||1.5||-30.2%|
|Sobieski||Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits||1.8||1.4||1.2||1.1||1.0||-8.1%|