A long time ago, in an economy far away, plunking down 30 bucks for a bottle of Stoli was no biggie. Then again, neither were subprime mortgages. The recession has changed all that, of course, and made saving money cool. The latest proof: cheap-chic vodkas—award-winning distillations that sell for around 10 bucks.
“We’ve left the days of glitz and bling behind,” says spirits industry consultant Arthur Shapiro. “Consumers might like their Grey Goose and Ketel One, but they might as well buy a good-tasting vodka at a lower price.” And they are.
Svedka—which began the posh-but-affordable charge several years ago—is now the fastest-growing spirits brand in America. And guess where its drinkers are coming from? “We steal market share from our more expensive competitors,” says svp Marina Hahn.
These newcomer brands are hardly subtle about it. A recent ad for Sobieski reads: “Overspending on vodka? That’s so 2008.”
Even the bottles look upscale—as our shelf of contenders and defenders below illustrates. While cheap-chic vodkas might not be comforting for the likes of Ketel One, it’s great news for average consumers. As a Wódka spokesperson puts it: “Good vodka for less money appeals to everybody.” Na Zdrowie!