Adalbert Guillaume MIM28 09/12/2013
Russian Standard Vodka: Strategies for global branding and expansion into the US
I. Executive summary
Founded in 1992, Roust Inc. first business was the distribution of imported goods into the Russian market.
Taking advantage of the perestroika and glasnost, Roustam Tariko used his knowledge of the Russian market to
develop imported spirit consumption, and even get exclusive distribution of Martini & Rossi products.
Being focused on discretionary goods know available to enriching Russians, even at high prices, Roust Inc.
became the leading importer of upmarket alcoholic drinks in Russia, one of the world's biggest market. From Ferrero
to Smirnoff, Roustam Tariko took advantage of Russia's opening to the global market in order to become one of its
In 1998, Roust Holdings Ltd. launched a new business unit, Russian Standard, a vodka brand and a bank, with
the stated goal of setting new standards of world-class quality, using Russian image as a global market advantage.
Russian Standard mission is to make Roust Holdings Ltd. a billion dollar company within ten years while conveying a
premium image based on Russian values.
Russian Standard is now developing in the global market, especially wide markets for spirits, such as the US.
Being leader in premium vodka brands in its local market, it is now expanding abroad. Its strong Russian identity
should be an asset, as it is the only premium quality vodka brand. Being a top brand in its local market, while
benefiting from Roust Inc. incomes, it has enough funds to develop its market shares on the global market.
Russia is the world's vodka market leader. Vodka consumption is a cultural aspect of Russian behavior. As a
meal accompaniment as well as guest greeting beverage, vodka is a key point of Russian identity. The counterpart
being that half of the market share is owned by standard quality products, premium segment being less than 1% of
Focusing on yuppies, Russian Standard succeeds in owning a little more of a quarter of its segment on the
local market. Its growth capabilities remain high, while the incomes of Russians' consumers increase.
On the other side, the vodka consumption, while being culturally important in the local market, is mainly on
an on premise basis. Indeed, Russian Standards encountered some difficulties to enter the bar market. It's now
taking benefits of new bars and night-clubs openings in big cities to broaden its distribution.
Other large markets, such as the US, are now available for Russian Standard, in addition to former soviets
countries. But for the later, the same limitation as the Russian market applies. On the other hand, with a larger
discretionary outcome, the US market offers a broader share for premium brands. Indeed, it represents more than a
fifth of the global premium market (compared to the 0.3% of...