Vodka focus: Vodkas for all

Related tags Apple juice Vodka Manchester

What was the strategy behind Revolution?Roy and Neil saw a lot of independent bars opening up in the Manchester area which all had great staff, great...

What was the strategy behind Revolution?

Roy and Neil saw a lot of independent bars opening up in the Manchester area which all had great staff, great design and were very comfortable and served great drinks. But they were all a bit flash-in-the-pan.

They wanted to create a concept that would last. And now we have 54 outlets.

But why vodka?

Vodka is the most popular spirit in the world and not without reason - it is not a Marmite drink where you either like it or don't. If someone comes to us saying they don't like vodka we can prove them wrong. If someone likes apple juice we can find a great vodka to go with it and it will still taste like apple juice. Or we could make a mixed drink with Zubrowka and it will taste fantastic with apple juice.

Has Revolution turned out the way Neil and Roy planned it?

The ideas you see in Revolution now, from the range of vodkas to the cocktail list, were in some form part of their original strategy - but of course other parts of it have developed over time. They looked at what Absolut had done with vodka - brought it to the west and really made it cool - and applied it to the concept. But we have to constantly evolve.

How has Revolution managed to stay ahead of the pack over the last 10 years?

We now do vodka masterclasses with party bookings - where we have tastings of different vodkas and try and educate our customers a bit. They are hugely popular.We also make our own vodkas - the Vodka Flavours - distilled at our own factory in Ashton-under-Lyne. They were first made in the basement at our original Oxford Road bar in Manchester.

People come to us because of our own Revolution Flavours and because of the range and education we offer the customer.

What trends are emerging in the market?

The majority of our premium vodka sales go into cocktails. But interestingly we are starting to see people 'brand calling' more and more.

Customers are coming in and asking for a Grey Goose and tonic or a Zubrowka and apple juice - and that is happening more in the major cities. And we are getting classic cocktails like Cosmopolitans being called for more as well.

There also seems to be more flavour extensions from brand owners. There is far more marketing spend behind the variations - so instead of having a Stoli and raspberry they are pushing raspberry Stoli and raspberry. They're pushing a move away from neutral flavours.

How does vodka manage to keep its appeal?

Vodka just has that unique appeal across all drinkers - from people who want a Woo-Woo or a super-premium over ice to a Bond-style Martini. There is a vodka out there for everyone. n

Related topics Spirits & Cocktails

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