How do you find the most popular vodka of the Germans?
Finding the most popular German vodka is not that easy. Does one go to the sales volumes on the retail, the mail order, the serving in the catering or even the taste? The data is difficult, unclear and contradictory. Especially with vodka also various discounter brands of Aldi (Zaranoff) or Lidl (Putinoff) as well as the German vodka Gorbatschow have a not inconsiderable market share. As a data basis, we have opted for Google Trends, an evaluation based on the search queries. In fifth place it went between Skyy Vodka and Vodka Gorbatschow damn close. As can be seen in the following figure, the German vodka brand has been searching for the American noble brand since August 2014. The strong marketing presence of Gorbachev from Henkell & Co. has therefore displaced the Skyy Vodka from the top five most popular vodka brands.
The top five vodkas and the relevance of the data foundation
For this evaluation, we used the search queries in the period from January 2013 to January 2016, so we looked at full three years. Striking is the vodka that the searches have hardly increased over the years. Unlike gin or whiskey, vodka is obviously not trendy. Nevertheless, vodka is one of the three most popular spirits of the Germans with a per capita consumption of 0.92 liters a year after the herbal and cream liqueur. While whiskey still keeps up with an annual per capita consumption of 0.57 liters, gin is far behind with a per capita consumption of only 0.06 liters per year and is possibly suitable as a trendy niche product (source). , Because our analysis is based on Google's search queries, it reflects much more recent trends and developments than would be the case on a statistical survey. Therefore, our evaluation of the five most popular vodkas in Germany, of course, with some caution to enjoy.
Overview of the five most popular vodkas in Germany
As with all spirits, December is always a month with a lot of search queries. The high-proof drinks are then often sought as a gift or needed for self-consumption over the holidays. The clear leader in search queries in the last three years is the vodka of the Swedish brand "Absolut". The success of the brand from Pernod Ricard is based not only on the successful marketing, but also on the extraordinary variety in the range. In second place, the Polish noble brand Belvedere has established itself. In third place is Smirnoff Vodka, densely pressed by the French premium brand Gray Goose. By a clear margin in the frequency of Google searches Vodka Gorbatschow follows in fifth place.
Swedish branded vodka has been produced in Ahus since 1879. The company goes back to Lars Olsson Smith who, unlike most other manufacturers, used fractional distillation to make the distillate. Therefore Absolut Vodka can not tell if it is distilled three or five times, because it is a continuous process. Lars Olsson Smith called this vodka "Tiodubbelt Renadt Brännvin", which simply means "absolutely pure brandy". Later the name was simplified to "Absolut Renadt Brännvin". In 1917, the Swedish government nationalized the liquor industry. In 1979, the vodka was first exported and the name shortened to "absolute". The brand image is characterized by the Swedish Apothecary Bottle, an incomparable wealth of variants and the involvement of numerous international artists. The annual production has more than increased ninetyfold from 90,000 liters to 96 million liters from 1979 to 2009, and the Absolut Vodka is now marketed in 126 countries. In 2008, the brand rights and the company for 5.6 billion euros from the Swedish state to the French spirits company Pernod Ricard change the owner. The distillate is made from winter wheat, and one liter of vodka requires just over one kilogram of grain.
Like many vodka brands, Belvedere has also found its way to the European consumer via the American market. In contrast to the European bar scene, the bars in New York and Los Angeles are considered as trendsetters and very experimental. Belvedere was until far into the 1990s a possibly regional known brand for Polish vodka. It was not until Edward Jay Phillips 1997, the import rights for the United States received and the brand image was trimmed on noble vodka, the vodka became known to a broad consumer group. With the takeover of the trademark rights and the company by the French luxury brand manufacturer Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2005, Belvedere Vodka has finally moved into the consciousness of German vodka lovers. The patron saint of vodka produced by the Polmos Żyrardów distillery since 1989 was the seat of the Polish President, the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw, which in turn is the model for many estates of the Polish nobility. For the production only Polish Dankowskie gold rye is used, which is distilled a total of four times. The water used to make and reduce the finished distillate to drinking strength comes from the in-house artesian well. The brand has sponsored the James Bond movie "Specter" and has been one of the most awarded spirits since 2013. A special feature is the diorama on the inside of the labels. The silhouette of the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw is shown, which simulates perspective and therefore three-dimensionality by changing the scale from foreground to background.
3rd place: Smirnoff vodka – the world's best-selling spirits brand
The world leader in vodka and probably also the best-selling brand of spirits is Smirnoff. The success goes back to Pyotr Smirnov, who opened a distillery in Moscow in 1864 and was one of the first to rely on charcoal filtration. As a result, the vodka had an unusual quality for the time. The distillate of Smirnoff became the favorite vodka of the Tsar's house and in Moscow in 1886 came about 2/3 of the entire vodka of Smirnov. In 1904, all Russian vodka manufacturers were nationalized and with the October Revolution of 1917, the descendants of Pyotr Smirnov were finally forced to leave Russia. The third son of Pyotr, Vladimir Smirnov, took over a distillery in Istanbul in 1920, followed four years later by a distillery in the then Polish Lvov and finally in 1925 in Paris. The current spelling "Smirnoff" goes back to the French pronunciation of the name. Despite all efforts, sales remained lower than previous sales in Russia. Finally, a meeting was held in Paris with a former grain supplier from Moscow. The now emigrated to New York businessman acquired the right to manufacture Smirnoff vodka in North America, but this had to sell in 1939 for lack of success. Only slowly did the traditional whiskey drinkers in the US grow. The trademark rights eventually went to R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 1982 and Grand Metropolitan just five years later. From the merger of Grand Metropolitan with Guinness eventually emerged the current owner DIAGEO. The breakthrough has reached the Smirnoff until the early 1990s. The Soviet troops stationed in the territory of the former GDR until the end of 1993 came after reunification especially with Western brand products in contact, such as Levi Jeans, Marlboro or Smirnoff. This time, Smirnoff proved a very good knack for product placement. The officers' casinos were renamed "Smirnoff Clubs", the consumption in Germany rose to 20,000 bottles of Smirnoff vodka a day, the market share of competitors Moskovskaya and Stolichnaya had melted in no time. Through word-of-mouth propaganda between Russian soldiers abroad and their families and friends back home, Smirnoff's vodka, which was unavailable for 70 years in the Soviet Union, quickly became the best vodka ever. The market entry in Russia with the highest per capita vodka consumption in the world, was thus a mere formality and doubled the sales of Smirnoff abruptly. Today, Smirnoff vodka is sold in 130 countries and u.a. in the United Kingdom, Mongolia, India, Ireland, Italy and the United States.
4th place: The noble Gray Goose Vodka from France
Sovereign in fourth place, the Gray Goose Vodka has landed. The roots of the French noble brand go back to the year 1996. At that time, the vodka boom was just in full swing and Sidney Frank wanted to jump on this train. The Gray Goose was a thoroughly planned brand vodka for the American market. In order to position itself in the luxury segment, the price, quality and marketing of the vodka was planned accordingly. In order to create the corresponding background, France was selected as the production location and through a partnership with the cognac producer Francois Thibault, the distillation process of cognac was transferred to the vodka. Incidentally, French winter wheat from Picardy and limestone-filtered water from a 500-meter-deep spring did so, and Voila did: the super-premium Vodka Gray Goose was created. To underline the quality of the vodka was delivered at the beginning even in wooden boxes similar to expensive wine. The filling took place on smoked glass, which is printed with the style-forming flying geese. As early as 1998, Gray Goose was voted the best vodka in the world and in 2004, 1.5 million bottles were sold in the US alone. Gray Goose Vodka is distilled five times and then subjected to copper filtration. Meanwhile, there are also some variants of Gray Goose, so-called flavored vodkas. Common to all variants is that all the ingredients – from wheat to water to the aromas used, such as melon or lemon – are 100% French. With the Gray Goose, it has once again proved that with a good spirit and a coherent overall concept, you can conquer a good chunk of the world market in less than 10 years.
5th place: Vodka Gorbachev has (almost) nothing to do with Russia
In fifth place in the search queries, the vodka Gorbachev seems a bit chipped. In fact, Google is wrong about the true meaning of this spirit in Germany. Gorbachev is the most sold vodka brand in this country and in contrast to some postmodern premium brands, the Gorbachev also has a real history. This is not, as many suspect, the last president of the USSR and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev back, but on Leo Gorbachev. Its history is similar to that of Vladimir Smirnov. During the October Revolution of 1917, he left Russia with his family and settled in Berlin. There he received on April 28, 1921 the permission to distil vodka. Initially, a niche product for the Russian exile community, the sales developed only moderately. The distillery and its trademarks went through some hands after the Second World War. Today, the brand belongs to Henkell & Co. and thus to the conglomerate of Dr. Ing. August Oetker KG. Mikhail Gorbachev, who is highly esteemed in Germany, has absolutely nothing to do with vodka, even though he probably contributed to its popularity in Germany. The fourfold cold-filtered vodka is a true German unique and reached in any other country in the world even approximately its German popularity values. Its every well known slogan "The vodka's pure soul." Has been used since 1975. So we say "Nastrovje!" And are pleased that a German vodka has made it among the most popular vodkas of the Germans.
Our tip: Russian Standard Vodka is a real Russian
Even though it does not matter in search trends, we would like to recommend our customers Russian Standard Vodka, one of Conalco's most popular items. The vodka goes back to the former tourist guide Rustam Tariko, who made his fortune in the post-Soviet period by the distribution of Ferrero Rocher and Italian vermouth and thus became the oligarchs. As such, he launched his own vodka in 1992 and has since become the largest Russian vodka producer. According to the 2015 Forbes list, his fortune was estimated at $ 1.1 billion (source). The vodka is produced in Saint Petersburg. Only Russian raw materials are used. The winter wheat is distilled four times and dazzled with the water of Lake Ladoga. The water from this lake, by the way, the largest lake in Europe, is considered to be particularly soft and thus gives the vodka its soft character. Filtered with activated charcoal, the Imperia variant is even filtered by quartz after the eightfold distillation. Although the Russian Standard is similar to the Gray Goose and the Belvedere a child of the 1990s, its price-performance ratio is undoubtedly respectable. As a spirits dealer, we can recommend the Russian Standard Vodka to our customers with a clear conscience.