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According to the country's top bar managers, gin's success has reached its peak and now it's time for vodka to have its day.
Despite gin's massive gains in recent years, vodka is still the biggest spirits category in the UK and according to recent Nielsen research (year to April 23, 2016), it is in 1.9% growth, which is being driven by flavoured vodka and premium vodka. “Premium vodka continues to grow in double digits, up 19.6%, and now accounts for 7.9% of total vodka and 67% of total vodka growth,” explain analyst Marika Pratico, senior client insight manager at Nielsen.
“I compare vodka these days to lager. No one wants weak lager anymore, even if they are lager drinkers they don’t want Fosters they want a lager with flavour and depth, and vodkas are now going the same way,” said Kyle Wilkinson, head bartender at The Beaufort Bar at The Savoy in a recent tasting in BarlifeUK.
“I think bartenders are looking at vodka differently now with the likes of Gaz Evans and Rico giving it a lot more kudos. It’s cool now to be the anti-cool which is bringing vodka back into the fore,” adds Jamie Jones, group bars executive at The Social Company, Jason Atherton.
“The general interest in vodka is increasing and our customers are definitely ordering more of it,” says Paul Richardson, assistant general manager at the two rosette Tuddenham Mill Hotel and Restaurant in Suffolk. “People are starting to want different styles of premium vodka and are coming to us expecting to find it,” he continues.
“We are seeing a lot of interest in Wild Knight Ultra-Premium English Vodka from Norfolk, it is single-distilled and made using Norfolk barley, which is quite unusual. It also has a really unique aroma and taste, which you wouldn't expect from vodka. My customers like it a lot and I think it's that top end of the vodka market that will explode in the years to come.”
Paul Forsyth from Thunder Road Emporium and Bootleggers Bar is a big advocate of Wild Knight Vodka and feels sure it will be a huge success. “Wild Knight is very different because it has its own botanicals. It's very unique.” he explains.
“I just did Imbibe live, and I found that generally people say they know about vodka until they try wild Knight. We tout it as an unaged whisky, because it's produced in the same way. From a selling point for view it is exceptional and stands out from all others I've ever tried during my 20 years in spirits industry.”
“We knew when we launched that the time for vodka to shine was definitely on its way and at the recent Imbibe drinks show we were overwhelmed by the interest in our vodka,” says Matt Brown, co-founder of Wild Knight English Vodka. “Bar managers were definitely on the lookout for something new and there seemed to be a renewed interest in premium vodka. We are very excited to be at the forefront, leading the way with what we feel is the best vodka you can buy in the UK.”
Wild Knight Ultra-Premium English Vodka is made from a single distillation using Norfolk barley. For more information visit www.wildknightvodka.co.uk
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