Bargain Sobieski continues its climb

Bill Dowd photo

Sobieski Premium Vodka maker Belvedere SA has been experiencing a few financial blips in recent months, but then who hasn't?

Nevertheless, the most recent industry figures show the year-old vodka has quickly grown to be the seventh largest globally-selling premium vodka, an astounding achievement given the ever-increasing glut of vodka products on the world market.

When the brand was launched last summer, it was with what it termed a "Truth In Vodka" marketing campaign. The idea was to spread the word that excellent vodka didn't have to cost a fortune. Relying on inexpensive plastic bottles, as just one element of controlling costs, Sobieski has kept its prices low -- $10.99 for a 750ml bottle, $19.99 for a 1.75-liter bottle. However, I've found it even cheaper in numerous spirits shops.

Last fall, Sobieski was ranked the No. 1 premium vodka by the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) in a blind tasting of 108 vodkas, the largest review of vodkas in its history, and earned both a gold medal and Best Buy Award. It was also ranked first in a blind tasting of 25 major international vodka brands conducted by La Revue du Vin de France, one of France's top wine and spirits publications.

[Go here for my tasting notes on Sobieski.]

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