You may be familiar with Absolut and Smirnoff since they are the top-selling brands of vodka worldwide. But do you know the best selling vodkas in Russia? With a multi-billion dollar vodka industry, Russians have thousands of brands to choose from. The Top 5 best sellers are a mix of affordability and high quality.
#1 – Green Label
Also known as Green Mark, this traditional vodka is named after the green quality seal that early Soviet government agencies would stamp on bottles after rigorous purity tests. The recipe includes a special high quality wheat, naturally farmed yeasts, and water drawn from reserves that has been filtered, purified, and softened for thousands of years.
#2 – Putinka
Since the Russian vodka market is highly competitive, makers need a unique brand and tons of marketing to ensure success. That’s exactly what Vinexim, owner of this brand, locked on to with Putinka, an affectionate take on former president and current prime minister Vladimir Putin’s last name. Fans of the brand say it’s mild in flavor and very smooth. Many millions of advertising dollars have been spent by the company and one promotional campaign claims that it’s actually good for relaxing and overcoming fatigue.
#3 – Five Lakes
Known as the best vodka in Siberia, Five Lakes claims to be as mild as the pure water of the Omsk Oblast lakes with a unique composition containing actual Siberian water and the purest grain alcohol. There is also a special mineral complex as one of the ingredients which is said to neutralize the negative effects of the alcohol on the body. The name is based on the Omsk legend of when 5 large meteorite fragments crashed into the region thousands of years ago, making round holes which were filled with living water, thus creating five lakes.
#4 – Soyuz-Victan Natural Harmony
When this classic Russian vodka company introduced uniquely flavored brands, drinkers became fast fans of the natural ingredients and organic taste. There are several flavors of Natural Harmony vodkas such as Honey with Pepper, Nettle Leaves, and Lime Blossom vodka. However, the most popular brand is Soyuz-Victan Birch Buds which is infused with birch buds and herbs, St. John’s wort, and caraway. These natural plants and herbs provide smoothness and a pleasant herbal aroma.
#5 – Parliament
Russian field grown rye is this vodka’s main ingredient, enriched with soft spring water from the 250 meter deep spring located at the production plant. The company, Urozhay, claims to use the most modern technologies for vodka production. Parliament is processed with natural salts and purified with milk. A special coagulation technique absorbs all the impurities and harmful substances, then the milk is removed in a multi-stage filtration process, leaving a pure vodka of high quality.
The list of most popular vodkas changes each year with so many new brands being introduced all the time. You may find these in your local liquor store, but more likely will have to purchase them online, or wait to share a bottle with your favorite Russian lady during your next trip to Russia or Ukraine.
(Source: Business Analytica 2008, based on audit of retail sales in towns with populations of more than 100,000 people)