Vodka Down, but Not Out
The vodka category—especially the flavored vodka segment—isn’t what it once was, but there are some standouts who rose above their peers and sustained growth in 2014.
Belvedere’s main catalyst for growth last year was its “Know the Difference” campaign, which educated consumers about how rye, water and character make Belvedere different. “It was very successful in promoting knowledgeable choice,” says Virginia Lawson, Belvedere’s brand director. “In addition, the launch of Mango Passion continued the brand’s path of innovation and helped increase momentum.”
Belvedere also partnered with Sony Entertainment and EON Productions on the 24th installment of the James Bond franchise, Spectre. The vodka brand feels that the movie be a major growth driver in 2015. The marketing program around the film will include a global advertising campaign and activation rights around the release.
For Roust’s (formerly Russian Standard) Green Mark Vodka, being named a Growth Brand winner means the company is achieving its goal of more consumers enjoying its spirit. “That’s our number-one priority,” says Tom Lewis, senior brand manager at Roust USA. “We’re proud to have built a core following of the brand since the launch, and expect to grow gradually through targeted promotions to drive trial and word-of-mouth.”
Devotion Vodka, the gluten-free and sugar-free spirit, doesn’t have the marketing budget of a global brand, so its philosophy “since day one has been to roll up our sleeves and work harder than everyone else,” says CEO Drew Adelman. “We remain committed to focusing our marketing on the grassroots level, as it’s been a competitive advantage for us.”
Devotion plans to debut two new flavors in the spring, as well as create more promotional signage, special in-store events and social media campaigns to create additional awareness.
Deep Eddy, which launched in 2010 in Austin, TX, with a sweet-tea-flavored vodka, expanded to nationwide distribution as of last year. The Fast Track brand went from 190,000 cases sold in 2013 to 455,000 sold in 2014. Deep Eddy’s growth was also fueled by the release of its Ruby Red grapefruit-infused vodka.