By the Numbers

Vodka, By the Numbers

From changing cocktail demands to botanical, low-ABV expressions, discover what’s trending in the ever-popular vodka category with our downloadable infographic

A bottle of vodka in front of a chart
Flexible, surprisingly nuanced, and always in demand, vodka is a timeless classic in the world of spirits. Photo credit: iStock.

With its staggering market share and extensive presence on drinks menus in classic and modern cocktails, vodka can be considered anything but neutral. That’s actually more accurate now than ever before, since in 2020 the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau removed the stipulation that the white spirit be produced “without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.”

Indeed, flavored bottles, whose popularity continues to flourish, have always skirted this requirement. Over the years, consumers’ penchant for flavored vodka has shifted from citrus, to fruit, to spice, to dessert confections (a blessedly short trend). These days, shelves are filled with fragrant, herb- and fruit-tinged “botanical vodkas.” These are in essence juniper-less gins and tout a tempered proof—suitable to mix into the lower-proof drinks that speak to the uptick in today’s mindful drinking.

Speaking of cocktails, classic options like the Moscow Mule, Cosmopolitan, and Bloody Mary continue to drive consumer demand. But there are two sides of the vodka cocktail-lover spectrum: those who use the spirit merely to spike their already-flavorful concoctions, and those who want the spirit’s flavor to shine through. Fans of the Vodka Martini fall into the latter camp—though the resurgence of the Espresso Martini, a 1980s throwback, is more aligned with the former.

Vodka can be distilled from any ingredient containing starch or high amounts of sugar. Wheat and potatoes dominate production, with other bases like corn, grapes, and honey adding to the mix. “I’m very excited by the new wave of ‘true’ vodkas from whey, pea, and heritage grains to expand the category,” says Ryan Chetiyawardana, also known as Mr. Lyan, the owner and bartender behind Super Lyan (in Amsterdam), Lyaness (in London), and Silver Lyan (in Washington, D.C.). “I’ve tried vodka from pearl barley, to red corn, to purple wheat, and the different grades of nuttiness, fruitiness, spice and different textures is wonderful.”

With $7.2 billion in sales in 2022, vodka continues to be the backbone of the spirits industry. (For comparison’s sake, the second-highest-grossing category of distilled spirits was tequila and mezcal, coming in at $886 million.)

Download the infographic by completing the form below to learn more about why this spirit is holding strong.


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Kelly Magyarics is a wine, spirits, travel, and lifestyle writer in the Washington, D.C. area who holds the WSET Diploma. You can reach her on her website, and on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.

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