There is talk in the media of consumers worldwide boycotting Russian brands following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Vodka is an obvious target given its frequent association with Russia. We took a look at the evidence – what has happened to sales of Vodka in convenience stores?
We were somewhat surprised to note that in fact, in convenience, vodka’s share of spirit sales has increased over the last 5 weeks, in line with last year’s trend. (The dip in 2021 is covid-lockdown related.)
There are four main brands that sell across the board in convenience.
Smirnoff, which originates in Russia with roots in Moscow, where Pyotr Smirnov founded a vodka distillery in 1864. However, the beverage is not a Russian product anymore and now has UK owners. The Smirnoff brand has changed hands several times over the years, and it is now owned by UK firm, Diageo who have recently announced that they have paused exports to Ukraine and Russia. A Smirnoff spokesperson told Reuters: "Our priority is the safety of our people in Ukraine and the wider region."
Glens Vodka is owned and produced by the Loch Lomond Group, a Scottish company. It is produced from sugar beet at the Catrine Distillery in Ayrshire, Scotland, and is sold by drinks retailers across the UK.
Chekov Vodka is created by a British company, Halewood International Ltd exclusively for Booker.
Glens & Chekov had been following the same trend as total vodka but both lost share in the latest week.
Absolut Vodka is Swedish, part of Pernod Ricard, the second largest spirits group in the world. Absolut also lost share but with a slight recovery at the beginning of March.
Across the whole 5 weeks, Russian Standard sales have been declining. This may be due to customer choice or stores removing from the shelves. Russian Standard only accounts for around 3-4% of all vodka sales so is unlikely to affect total vodka performance. The manufacturer, which also owns the alcohol brand Guinness, has also announced that it has paused exports of its liquor to Russia.
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