The Death of the Vodka Snob?

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08feed_190I’ve never understood the argument for super-premium vodka–vodka is supposed to be, by definition neutral (don’t get me started on flavored vodkas), so what, outside the stylishness of the bottle, can a super-premium vodka offer that Popov or Luksosowa or Smirnoff can’t? Not much, and in tough economic times, lots of people are rediscovering that.

It might seem logical that people would drink more in a recession. In fact, liquor sales in the United States are up slightly, about 1 percent in the year ended Jan. 25, compared with the year earlier, according to Information Resources, a market research firm.

The more pronounced trend is that some consumers are switching to the cheap stuff. Over the same period, consumers bought $36 million worth of Popov, up 8 percent.

Sales over all in the “popular” vodka category, costing $6 to $9 a bottle, increased 14 percent.

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Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →