Which countries immediately spring to mind when you think of vodka? Russia? Scandinavia perhaps? They’d probably be some of your first thoughts. Well, how about France? Probably not a country very high up on your list, but one which, make no mistake, really is home to a premium vodka.
For nestled in the heart of cognac country, in the shadows of the great cognac houses of Courvoisier and Hennessey, is a modern and rather non-descript grey building, which is home to the distillery of Grey Goose Vodka.
Surprising it may be, but this self styled ‘cognac of vodka’ has become an astonishing success thanks to the marketing genius of the late New York spirits importer, Sidney Frank. This was the man who took the, err, how to describe it? – ‘unique’ taste of the German drink, Jägermeister, and made it one of the coolest of drinks in the US. With some fairly shrewd marketing of the product, it became the tipple of the trendy American crowd and left him with only one problem. How to follow up this enormous success?
And this is where vodka came into the equation. It’s one of the cheapest of all spirits to produce, hence the increasingly growing popularity, but with Grey Goose, Mr Frank decided to create a brand which would weigh in at a hefty double the price of other, high quality brands. A tall order, you may think. But once again he managed to create a cunning marketing ploy, that being the rationale to produce it in France, the home of many of the worlds luxury products.
Within a year the distillery had been set up and, using a specially sourced French wheat and naturally filtered water from the Massif Central, the distilling process began. And, in 1997, so the first ever bottles of Grey Goose vodka came into being in the depths of the cognac region. The cogs of the marketing machine began to whir, and in 2004, the drinks giant, Bacardi, paid a record breaking price of over $2 billion dollars for the company.
Of course, it has inspired a few copy cat brands, but there is no way of getting away from the incredible Grey Goose phenomenon, and proof of how powerful marketing can be.
Grey Goose is, and continues to be, a vodka which is flying high!
Sources: francetoday.com, anybooze.com, greygoose.com