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Cheers Weekly



American Vodka Continues to Grow

When the vodka boom exploded at the turn of the century, the race to create the most elegant and refined brand image and package, using elaborate distillation and filtration processes as well as a variety of ingredients, put imported vodkas at the top of the heap. More obscure, unique and exotic meant better, the thinking went at the time.
With few exceptions, while vodkas from all over the world were getting plenty of attention, American-made brands were mostly afterthoughts in the minds of many consumers and retailers, often relegated to the bottom shelf with brands engaged in a race-to-the-bottom kind of price war that left little profit..
But a number of factors — the burgeoning small American distiller industry; the locavore trend in product provenance, stories and ingredients; a renewed interest in American-made spirits, as well as an understanding that great value could be had at more reasonable prices – have lately changed the game.
Now American-made vodkas are growing at a rate that surpasses imports. Further, some of the hottest vodka brands are made in the U.S.
Tito’s is continuing its multi-year boom, while others surge as well. Most of the volume increase in 2016 came from relative newcomer premium brands – Tito’s, New Amsterdam, Platinum 7X and Deep Eddy. Meanwhile brands like Skyy, Burnett’s and Seagram’s maintained their places near the top of the heap. And volume is shifting from value brands to premium-plus.
And then there’s Smirnoff, the Russian-sounding vodka with 80 year American roots, which dominates the domestic market at more than 9.4 million cases.
Pricing is notoriously savage in the vodka category, and with consumers now more educated, their willingness to spend is being tempered by awareness about quality. “As good as imported vodkas are, consumers have learned that they don’t need to spend $30 for a really good vodka,” says Michael Sachs, director of marketing for E & J Gallo and its New Amsterdam brand. “I think a lot of the American brands, starting maybe 20 years ago, started the trend so that people could recognize that American vodkas can be really great vodkas.”
Newer efforts are gearing up as well. Pernod Ricard has two in early stages, including the city-centric Our/Vodka project. The brand now includes international variants made in London, Berlin and Amsterdam, and two in the U.S. – Detroit and Los Angeles (with Miami and New York coming soon). Targeted primarily off-premise, the brands at least initially will be hyper-local and sold only within the marketing areas, although Our Vodka Detroit has a presence in Chicago Whole Foods units.
single vineyard
Guinness Celebrates 200 Years in America with Special Releases
American craft beer drinkers have a lot to be thankful for Guinness. Founded in Ireland in 1759, the beer brand invented nitro brews in the 1950s, and helped popularize the stout style of beer more than 100 years before that.
And, of course, there’s the brand itself: a smooth dry nitro stout that shows that good beer does not always have to be expensive. The affordable Guinness has been a mainstream of American pubs and beer fridges since 1817
“The brand celebrated its 200th anniversary in America this week with a party in Manhattan that highlighted several special-release beers.
Two centuries of U.S. consumers enjoying Guinness began with one line in a brewer’s log. A handwritten note from 1817, recovered by Guinness, shows that the brewery had set aside eight barrels of porter for shipment to South Carolina. One can wonder whether merchants on the other end of that shipment knew what they were receiving: the first barrels of a beer that still appeals to Americans well into the 21st century. READ MORE…

Three prominent members of the beverage alcohol industry joined this year’s Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans: Constellation Brands owners Richard Sands (#278 at $2.9 billion) and Robert Sands (#288 at $2.8 billion), and Tito’s Vodka owner Bert “Tito” Beveridge (#324 at $2.5 billion).

Business Sales Analyst
Wholesaler: Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
Location: : Syosset, NY
Bachelor’s Degree in business, knowledge of wine and spirits industry a plus.


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