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Friday: Two-Martini Bunnies

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Whiskey Makes a Comeback

The Rat Pack

Vodka is so 2012

Peter Evans writes: Sales of the colorless, odorless spirit have slowed substantially in the U.S. in the past two years after more than a decade of roaring growth.

“We are seeing a generational shift away from vodka.”

—Jonny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at research firm Mintel Group Ltd.

Tired of lurid flavor extensions—from fluffed marshmallow to menthol tobacco—and at the limit of what they are willing to pay for upscale versions, drinkers are increasingly choosing bourbon or tequila over vodka. That spells bad news for the world’s biggest distillers.

Whipped-Vodka-WSJ

Vodka Sales Fall as Drinkers Raise Glass to Whiskey

Vodka makes up a quarter of U.S. spirits sales by value, and the slowdown is starting to eat into profits at liquor companies. North American sales of Diageo PLC’s Smirnoff brand declined 8% in the six months ended December, contributing to an 18% slide in overall profit.

“Vodka’s identity crisis comes after a prolonged period of success. For years, flavor extensions helped drive sales, while bottles of triple-filtered vodka sold at $30 swelled the profits of major distillers.”

Pernod Ricard SA said late last year that its Absolut brand is struggling in the U.S.

“Taste profiles have moved to appreciate whiskey more,” said Ivan Menezes, Diageo’s chief executive, in an interview last week. “It’s a trend that’s been building for a few years.”

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Experts say the attributes that first attracted consumers to vodka now appear to be turning them off. Specifically, the anonymity that means vodka can be mixed with almost anything to add an alcoholic kick is becoming less appealing. Drinkers are instead turning to whiskey for its perceived greater depth of flavor.

“Taste profiles have moved to appreciate whiskey more. It’s a trend that’s been building for a few years.”

— Ivan Menezes, Diageo’s chief executive

Attempts by marketers to plug that gap with flavor variants are running out of steam: There are more than 600 flavors of vodka available to U.S. consumers, but demand growth decelerated in 2014, according to Bernstein research.

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The biggest distillers have been hit the hardest by the shift in taste. Sales of Smirnoff vodka flavors—a roster of more than 30 products, including root-beer float and whipped cream—are in decline in the U.S. Pernod Ricard has admitted its “Oddka” experiment—with flavors from salty caramel popcorn to oddkafresh-cut grass—has fallen flat.

Total U.S. vodka sales increased 1.9% in 2013, compared with 2.7% growth in the wider spirits industry, according to industry body IWSR—the first time since 2000 that vodka has underperformed the sector average. Analysts expect a similar result when 2014 figures are released.

“Part of the problem for vodka has been attracting younger drinkers. Once seen as an exciting alternative to the brown spirits favored by their parents, vodka is now viewed as too mainstream for newly legal drinkers.”

Big liquor companies have seen their share of U.S. vodka sales eroded by intense competition. Supermarkets charging low prices for smaller brands have stolen customers from midmarket labels like Smirnoff and Absolut. While sales of superpremium vodkas such as Diageo’s Ketel One and Cîroc have held up, the brand that kicked off the superpremium trend in 1997, Bacardi Ltd.’s Grey Goose, has suffered a sharp decline.

Russian vodka has also suffered from the slowdown. In 2013—the latest available year—the amount of vodka imported from Russia into the U.S. dropped 70% from the prior year, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. The most popular Russian label—Stolichnaya Premium vodka, known as “Stoly”—fell out of the top-five best-selling brands in 2013.

At the same time, an explosion of craft distillers is encroaching on sales. Diageo says there have been more than 200 new vodka brands launched in the U.S. in the past two years.

Part of the problem for vodka has been attracting younger drinkers. Once seen as an exciting alternative to the brown spirits favored by their parents, vodka is now viewed as too mainstream for newly legal drinkers in the U.S., analysts say. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Happy Friday Face-Flame Vodka Shot

Four friends sat in a room looking forward to a good time.

Of course, some drinks were also added in the mix to help with the said good time. However it soon turned into a scene out of a sci-fi film,  when one man downed his flaming vodka, only to discover that he had set himself on fire…(more)

India Today


High School High: Teacher Found In Classroom Intoxicated, Without Pants

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“They didn’t know who she was, she was apparently new and was supposed to start yesterday.”

For CBS HoustonBenjamin Fearnow reports: A newly-hired teacher was found intoxicated and not wearing any pants inside an Oklahoma high school classroom on her first day of work, according to Wagoner police.

[More Teacher Bad Behavior – VIDEO – Libido Update: Boy-Crazy Teacher Meredith Powell…]

[More – Teacher Busted for Sex with Student and Sending Nude Pics…]

Police arrested Lorie Hill after two Wagoner High School teachers found her intoxicated and without pants in an empty classroom she was claiming tovodka-tall be her own, KOKI-TV reports. Recently hired by Wagoner Public Schools, Hill was reporting for her first day on the job as all teachers were also returning for their first day back in school from summer break.

“When our officers interviewed her she did admit to having had some vodka yesterday morning before she came to school.”

— Police Chief Bob Haley

Wagoner Police say she admitted to drinking and authorities found an empty cup in her vehicle that contained an odor of vodka, but there was not enough evidence to prove that she commuted to work under the influence. There were no credible witnesses at her home in Claremore to prove a DUI charge, so Hill was only arrested for public intoxication.

“I don’t know, as an adult, I just don’t know how you can be a professional teacher and teaching young people, and then show up drunk.”

— Parent of Wagoner High school student

“When our officers interviewed her she did admit to having had some vodka yesterday morning before she came to school,” said Haley.

[Related – Meredith Powell in Custody of Her Mother: Boy-Crazy…]

[More – Sacré Bleu! Topless Feminist Stabs Wax Putin in France…]

On Monday, police officers found her in the principal’s office, where the school staff had been detaining Hill since finding her without pants inside the classroom. Read the rest of this entry »


How to Capture a Rogue Bull: Vodka

ferdinand

GERMANY: Bull Captured After Getting Drunk On Two A Glass Two Glasses A Bottle Two Bottles of Vodka

Jon David Kahn reports:  It all went down in the area around Kallmunz near Regensburg. About six months ago, the bull escaped its owner and went rogue, reportedly hiding out in the Bavarian woods for most of that time.  According to Bavarian Rudfunk radio, the bull was causing concern in the area.

The desperate owner initially appealed to a local veterinary office for permission to shoot and kill the bull. He was denied. Over the course of six months, the owner then attempted to shoot the bull with tranquilizers. But the bull eluded him repeatedly.

The bull found his match in a local farmer whose yard he frequented. The farmer’s first attempts to apprehend the bull proved unsuccessful. He tried catch him with a rope while it was eating from a bucket but the suspicious bull wandered off as the farmer approached. The farmer was too concerned with the bull’s health to fire off a tranquilizer so he turned to a bottle of vodka in hopes of slowing him down.

Read the rest of this entry »