The vodka marketplace exploded over a decade ago. Curiously, it became vogue to drink martini’s, even though you had long standing institutions subtly promoting martini, dating all the way back to the James Bond 007 movie brand where the hero would order a martini “shaken, not stirred”. After this, the martini became stodgy and dated, kind of the ‘Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra set.  Around the turn of the century (2000, that is,) it became wildly popular to drink martini’s. The vodka market exploded. New offerings seemingly daily flooded the market striving to catch the popularity train.  the market was, and is driven by two distinct groups.  The twenty somethings who now mix vodka with red bull and other energy drinks looking for the increased buzz. As the market has now matured, it has splintered.  Martini’s are still consumed, but the market has taken on a new personality with the advent of a rash of drinks and mixologists thinking the next greatest concoctions using vodka and whatever.

Here we give an overview of the market and pricing.  As with market, there are levels of quality and pricing that come into play. The following is a summary

Low End. These are vodkas that price in the range from as little as $15-25 for a 1.75 liter bottle. This space is crowded with many offerings. Most range in the $20-25 category.  Many, (Icelander, as an example) start in this pricing category trying to draw a following. If popularity consumes, then pricing increases follow.

Medium. By far, this is the most crowded segment of the vodka marketplace.  This is ruled by Absolut, the Russian maker who has had a long history of success.  Prices for this range from $25-40 for a 1.75 liter bottle.  This segment is also ruled by vodkas with additional tastes mixed into the vodka.  Just go to a liquor store and see the number of Absolute offerings available.  A sign of a mature market.  My favorite of this group is 360 Vodka. From Weston, Missouri, this is one of the many micro distillers that opened and found great success.  You can see a review in the near future on 360.

High End. The high end has driven the overall market.  Its the “VIP” attitude that has driven this market segment. Cost seems not be a factor.  The grand daddy of this market segment has been French maker, Grey Goose. The pricing ranges from $50-70 for 1.75 liter (these are the big bottles.  Why would you ask me to review any less size?)