There’s no denying it, the spirit market is massive business. In a recent report by Impact about the top 100 spirit brands by retail value, Cognac giant Hennessy scores among the the top 5.
The results of this report also show that there’s been a distinct shift in the world’s taste for spirits. The penchant for vodka, such as Smirnoff, that has seen the spirit’s growth continue for over a decade has now taken a sideways leap to liqueurs and whiskies.
The flavored vodkas so popular in the past are being overtaken by flavored bourbon and whisky based liqueurs, thanks to the clever introduction of flavors such as honey and cinnamon. Vodka’s retail value declined last year by 1.5 per cent, although overall the spirit market increased around 1.2 per cent, to $86.6 billion US dollars. However, this is significantly less than the massive 7 per cent gain in 2013.
This is partly due to the austerity measure in China, that has seen sales of Scotch, Cognac and other brands slow dramatically. And in terms of vodka, the devaluation of the Russian Rouble has certainly had its consequences.
Drinks giant, Diageo, took numbers one and two in the top 5, with Johnnie Walker the winner and Smirnoff in second place. Hennessy came third, with an increase of 2 per cent, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey was fourth and Bacardi Rum fifth.
It’s interesting to put these reports into real life situations. After all, we’re talking general consumption when it comes to products such as Smirnoff, Bacardi etc. When a consumer stands in front of a liquor display, wondering what to purchase, it’s obvious that price will be a factor. A regular bottle of Smirnoff red label vodka (750ml) costs around $14. You’d expect to pay around the same for a regular bottle of Bacardi Rum, whereas a bottle of Hennessy VS Cognac will set you back around $35.A big difference when it comes to price, so impressive that Hennessy features higher in the list than many of the other spirits.
And when it comes to the public’s differing tastes, we find it fascinating that certain brands have increased their sales to over $1 billion last year. These include Pernod Ricard’s Indian Whisky, Imperial Blue, Grupo Tequila Cuervo’s Jose Cuervo and Fratelli Branca Distillerie’s bitter Fernet Branca. It just goes to show that advertising and exposure is everything, and if you get that right, then the world really is your oyster.
2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year, with a multitude of new releases already (and we’re only in March!). Hennessy, Remy Martin, Martell, and Courvoisier are storming ahead with various marketing strategies, so come this time next year it’ll be fascinating to see what worked (and what didn’t). But one thing’s for sure, the ever-changing state of the world economy, coupled with various global turmoil certainly makes for an interesting playing field. All we can say is watch this space…