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Constellation Looks To The On-Premise To Boost Svedka

February 20, 2018

While it’s been tough sledding for many of the U.S. market’s leading vodka brands lately amid intense competition within the category, Constellation Brands-owned Svedka vodka has managed to remain in positive territory over the past two years, reaching 4.4 million cases on 2% growth in 2017, according to Impact Databank. Since 2010, Svedka has added more than 1 million cases to its U.S. total.

In 2015, Svedka became the largest imported vodka brand in the U.S. by volume, and is now the market’s fourth-largest vodka overall, behind Smirnoff, Tito’s and New Amsterdam. Carl Evans, Constellation’s vice president of marketing for spirits, is confident that Svedka can continue gaining in the competitive category. “The value equation—what you get versus what you pay,” continues to be the driving force for the brand, he says.

At retail, Svedka currently sits at around $12 a 750-ml. for the core vodka and flavors, with its 100-proof version retailing at about $14. Evans sees ample potential for the brand to increase its on-premise presence. Svedka has been targeting neighborhood pubs and sports bars through its Bloody Mary-focused “Hail Mary” campaign, which also serves as a college and professional football tie-in during gridiron season. For 2018, Evans says Svedka will focus on digital and on-premise activations and maintain a strong social media presence as it looks to recruit younger consumers.

In addition to promoting Svedka in the on-premise, Evans sees smaller formats as another area for growth. “We’re very interested in the convenience channel,” he says. “We think there’s a real opportunity for the on-the-go, smaller size format.”

While vodka’s flavor segment has seen its share of challenges recently, Svedka’s latest flavor extension, Blue Raspberry, has been well-received. If current trends continue through February—which marks the end of Constellation’s fiscal year—Blue Raspberry will be the brand’s most successful flavor launch to date, Evans notes.

“There’s a big chunk of the Blue Raspberry consumer that’s both new to our brand and new to the vodka category,” says Evans. “But the strength of the core 80-proof unflavored vodka is critical for the long term. We’re in a strong position there, with 80% of our business in the core 80-proof.” —Shane English

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