The vermouth of tomorrow, by François Monti
Vermouth holds a strong position, it is not a mystery. In recent years, the number of brands has increased and, from Australia to the United Kingdom, even countries with no production tradition are starting to do so. Some even think that we have already reached saturation point, and that the market can no longer absorb references in a category that remains outrageously dominated by the giant Martini. What is really going on?
According to a recent market study, pessimists will be disappointed: world growth in vermouth is expected to slightly exceed 5% by 2022, on a par with the recent growth. Vermouth has several advantages on its side. First, in the era of storytelling, it is a product with a history and a strong connection to the land. Secondly, while in many countries the tendency is to consume less alcohol overall and more during the day, vermouth is strongly linked to the time of the aperitif. Third, its vinous base and lower alcohol volume create a healthy image compared to spirits.
To ride this wave, there are clear market trends. While in recent years many producers have mainly proposed old or historical references in order to make their link with tradition more credible, their attention will probably focus in the coming years on the type of wine, the organic origin of the ingredients and the sugar level – so expect to see alternative sweeteners.
Unfortunately, experts also expect many “flavored” vermouths to arrive, probably inspired by the emergence of strawberry gins and other fruits. This phenomenon is more typical of a mature than a developing category. Its importance may tell us whether, by 2022, the outlook is less rosy. In the meantime, we are preparing a small Boulevardier and we pray that the vermouth makers will keep their sense of proportion!
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.