Top spirits… vodkas and gins
A vodka year when brands fought back… but weren’t always flavour of the month. And a gin year where there were complicated patterns of sales winners and losers in all parts of the market.
A couple of years ago Glen’s vodka, from Glen Catrine, powered its way into number one position as the Scottish off-trade’s most valuable alcohol brand, leapfrogging both Smirnoff and the giant lager brand Tennent’s, on the way.
And in 2012 it remained most valuable brand… but only just.
Glen’s sales value dropped from a massive £74.2m to a still huge £68.4m. But global giant vodka Smirnoff was hard on Glen’s heels adding 7% to its sales total to reach £ 67.2m.
And those are very much the big two of the Scottish off-trade white spirits world in the Nielsen figures.
As we’ve already seen Russian Standard vodka was the single biggest grower in the top 50 last year. It clocked up 58% growth and now comes in at a little less than a tenth of the sales of each of the two vodka giants.
A number of value vodkas saw sales fall. And while the core Smirnoff product did very well its flavoured vodkas Smirnoff Lime and Smirnoff Green Apple were both down.
Absolut showed good growth and unlike the Smirnoff flavours Absolut Raspberri also showed growth.
Luxury French vodka Grey Goose was up considerably and Green Mark Russian Vodka reached more than £700,000 Scottish sales from just about a standing start. But Eristoff and Finlandia were both markedly down.
Now gin is becoming complicated. Retailers who like to visit the occasional smart bar – either for research or pleasure will have noticed the remarkable growth of premium and craft gins in the last few years. The good news is that many of the most successful new-wave gins are Scottish and last year showed that they are migrating out of the cocktail bar scene and into the home.
The giant of the gin scene Gordon’s had a fairly good year, putting on 4% sales.
The next biggest brand Bombay Sapphire comes a long way behind but added a very substantial 32% in sales in Scottish off-trade over the year.
Greenall’s also did well jumping 37% although that firm’s supermarket special gin Richmond’s dropped sales substantially.
Among the premium and craft gins Scotland’s Hendrick’s, known for its cucumber serve was up 28% to almost £800,000 worth of Scottish take-home sales.
Speyside’s Carounn, known for its red apple serve, its passion for cocktails and its party connenctions to the movie set jumped 30% and was heading towards £100,000 worth of sales.
And Boe gin, produced in Doune to a recipe said to be inspired by a 17th century recipe from the man considered the father of gin, added 57% to reach £63,000 worth of sales.
The established Scottish brand Blackwoods fell by 7%, however, and other brands showing declines included Plymouth, which was down 25%.
Vodkas: top 15 – on moving annual total sales at week ending 05.01.13