The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2016

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38  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2016 BRAND SPEAK The flavored vodka category has slowed over the last few years. Why is Stoli betting on the category's future? RP: We have a long heritage as a pioneer in the category; many people are unaware that Stoli Vodka was the first major vodka brand to introduce flavored vodkas back in 1962. Our flavors are a very important and valuable segment of our business, acting as a key vehicle with our recruitment of new Millennial and multi-cultural consumers who we know over-index in flavors. What's coming down the hatch for Stoli's flavored vodkas this summer? RP: This summer we are investing heavily behind our Stoli flavors with our first-ever summer cam- paign, #DrinkWhatYouWant. The #DrinkWhatYouWant campaign seeks to create a movement that celebrates and encourages men to challenge the status quo and be confident to drink what they want, without letting super- ficial fruit-driven cocktail stereotypes and social stigmas drive their drink order. The campaign will have a focus on traditional Stoli Blueberi Lemonade, Stoli Razberi Mule and Stoli Ohranj Crush cocktails through a 360-degree multimedia campaign on outlets such as and YouTube. A website hub,, will feature cocktail videos and articles from around the internet that support the notion that there is no such thing as a "girly drink." Another key feature will be a unique video series with Portland- based award-winning bartender and author Jeffrey Morgenthaler. Social media will also play a very important role as we drive strong engagement via Instagram through #DrinkWhatYouWant to connect and resonate with Millennials. We are encouraging all to post images of themselves and their friends enjoying flavored cocktails of any kind all sum- mer long. Why does the consumer turn to Stoli—and even more important, why does the bartending community? SB: Stoli consumers and bartenders understand quality—and supreme quality is and has been a cornerstone of our brand for nearly 80 years. Seven Stoli Vodka flavors have scored 90+ point awards with the Beverage Testing Institute (Blueberi, Ohranj, Peachik, Vanil, Hot, Strasberi and Citros). We believe that the biggest barrier to success is trial; once consumer and bartenders try our flavors, they quickly recognize the high quality and incredible taste. Are flavored vodkas big- ger stars in the retail space or on-premise? SB: Within the flavored vodka segment, the growth is coming from original/ traditional flavors, and retail is the biggest driver of sales. That said, we continue to experience strong success in the on-premise as the go-to flavor line within the bartender community for the past 20 years. What's your personal favorite flavor and why? RP: Stoli Blueberi. It's light, refreshing on the rocks or easily mixable for a Blueberi lemonade. SB: Stoli Peachik. I'm a big fan of the Stoli Peachik mule for the summer. Russell Pareti, Stoli Brand Director, and Steve Ballard, SVP of Sales. TALKING STOLI FLAVORS' SUMMER CAMPAIGN WITH RUSSELL PARETI, BRAND DIRECTOR, AND STEVE BALLARD, SVP OF SALES PHOTO: TIMOTHY MURRAY #Q&A

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