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High Quality, Low Price – Consumers Find It In Sobieski Vodka

05/30/2011

I’m a believer in the premise that high quality and low price can coexist. While I don’t buy into the term “cheap premium” I assert that low price is not a necessary indicator of value and high price does not ensure high quality.

In today’s economy consumers are seeking to maintain their lifestyles or enjoy a occassional indulgence – without breaking the bank. Many consumers started buying cheaper grocery store brands over national brands in order to knock 30% off their food bills. What they often discovered is that the cheaper generic (or own brand) products’ taste, was at least as good as the pricier counterparts with big-name brand recognition. In some cases, own brand products were superior in taste.

Marketers use words such as “premium”, “ultra-premium” or “ultimate” with the same discretion as they do with words such as “best in class”. None.

Perhaps in no other market has the word premium been turned up on its ear than the vodka market. The reason is simple and here’s vodka’s dirty little secret: There isn’t much difference between the absurdly expensive and the absurdly cheap. According to the U.S. government’s Code of Federal Regulations, all vodka—no matter how many times it’s distilled, whether it comes in a bottle shaped like a human skull, or even if P. Diddy endorses it—is defined as “without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.” as reported in Bloomberg Businessweek April 28th.

In blind taste testing conducted by Chicago’s Beverage Testing Institute (BTI), Sobieski scored a 95 out of 100. Svedka (the sub-$20 vodka juggernaut) trailed at 91, and Wodka (90, $12) outranked Double Cross Vodka (89, $49.99) and Shanghai White (83, $65).

Smart consumers avoid using price as the benchmark for quality. For years I’ve been a faithful customer of Skyy $27 but I’ve moved easily to Sobieski. Heck, even Bruce Willis is on board as part owner of Sobieski. How cool is that?

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