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Cheers Weekly
How Imported Vodka Will Perform in 2018  

Imported vodka brands face a challenging environment in the U.S. market. Overall growth remains fairly flat and imports face competition from domestic vodka and American craft brands. And of course, brown spirits (especially whiskey) have made inroads against the most popular white spirit.
Successful brands are following a multi-pronged strategy of pricing adjustments, emphasizing points of differentiation and pursuing innovations in new releases and packaging to generate excitement in the retail setting. In this market, messaging is key.
Producers must communicate clear, concise and compelling brand stories while maintaining transparency about authenticity of origins and craft of productions methods. Overall, the major players in the import category remain positive about vodka.
“Vodka remains the most popular spirit in America and is often referred to as the backbone of the spirits industry,” notes Alex Tomlin, senior vice president at Diageo North America, while conceding that growth of imported vodka volumes is down slightly from the previous year. “Ketel One has seen improvements in performance as overall category volume has continued to trend upwards.”
While the total imported vodka category is flat at 0.5% volume growth, according to The Beverage Information & Insights Group Liquor Handbook 2017, the top 10 leading brands were up a full percentage point. In the number one spot, category leader Svedka posted gains of 2.9% Other impressive performers among the top 10 included Ketel One at a solid 2% volume growth and Ciroc, which rocketed 17.0%.
“Imported vodka brands have a strong, yet saturated, presence in the U.S. market,” says Clayton Wai-Poi, vice president of marketing, Vodka, Cognac and Gin at Beam Suntory, whose portfolio includes the Effen and Pinnacle brands. “Consumers are always looking for innovative brands to become their go-to,” he adds.
single vineyard
What’s New and Hot in Southern Hemisphere Wines
Can you remember the time you first tried a big, juicy, unctuous Australian shiraz?
What about the first bottle of zesty, zingy New Zealand sauvignon blanc you uncorked (or more likely, unscrewed)?
Or when you heard about that “trendy new grape from Mendoza called malbec”?
It wasn’t all that long ago that these wines weren’t on every shelf and wine list like they are today, when it’s hard to picture a menu without them. They are now joined by other grapes seeing an uptick, from tannic tannat to cheery carménère, as the Southern Hemisphere continues to be a hot and hip part of the wine world.

Make It a Malbec
Sure, malbec came onto the scene just as consumers were growing tired of bold, jammy shiraz. But it’s no longer fair to refer to it as a “trending” wine, says Jessica Norris, corporate beverage director for Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. “Malbec has proved its worth [and] has graduated to being a standard and must-have on a wine list today.”
The Southlake, TX-based company manages 13 locations of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, 24 Del Frisco’s Grilles and 16 Sullivan’s Steakhouse restaurants. Southern Hemisphere wines vary at each location from eight to 12, priced from $8 to $16 by the glass and $45 to $300 by the bottle.

Two of Anheuser Busch’s 2018 Super Bowl commercials focused not on beer, but on water. A Budweiser spot highlighted the company’s distribution of canned water following natural disasters, while a Stella Artois ad featuring Matt Damon focused on providing clean drinking water in underdeveloped countries.

Pricing Specialist
Wholesaler: Breakthru Beverage
Location: North Las Vegas, NV
Requirements: Bachelor’s and 3 years experience in finance or marketing.


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