The Grapevine

Retail Wine Industry News: Raise Prices AND Double Sales – Sobieski Vodka’s Big Push

June 23rd, 2014

Sobieska Vodka hopes to re-ignite the growth it had seen in the not-to-distant past and push sales from 1 million to 2 million cases annually. It’s plan to achieve this: push up pricing. [level-members]

There’s more to their plan, acording to Shanken News Daily, but it seems the Polish brand is going to fight back against the stiffened competitive landscape in the vodkca market by trying to carve out a niche above and away from the bulk of the competition.

According to Chester Brandes, president of Sobieski’s U.S. importer Imperial Brands, a significant price increase – perhaps as much as 35% – is in the offing.

In 2011, Sobieski vodka became the fastest vodka brand to ever reach shipments of 1 million cases in the U.S. Since then, however, pricing within the vodka category has grown ever more competitive, and the Polish import’s progress has stalled. After slowing to 3.2% volume growth in 2012, Sobieski eked out a 0.5% gain last year, to just under a million cases. Chester Brandes, president of Sobieski’s U.S. importer Imperial Brands, tells SND that the brand is now positioned to resume its climb and is also aiming to premiumize. Even as it looks to raise prices significantly—by as much as 35%—Imperial Brands has set a goal of doubling Sobieski’s U.S. volume to 2 million cases within the next four years.

“The idea is to raise our prices over several years, and we think the brand is strong enough with proper above-the-line investment to reinforce image and increase awareness,” said Brandes. “This brand can break out from the competitive subset it’s in now, and we need to do that.”

The current plan is to move pricing from $11 SRP for 750-ml. to $14.95 or so. The competitors they’re trying to distance themselves from include Svedka, Pinnacle and Finlandia.

An new installment of Sobieski’s “Truth In Vodka” ad campaign recently began and will run in key markets across the US through 2014.[/level-members]