For a few brief, wondrous years, flavored vodka had no limits. Distilleries went full Willy Wonka on the spirit, pushing customer taste buds into unknown territory. There was vodka flavored like PB&J, smoked salmon, Cinnabon and gummy candy (not all at once, thank god). There was even electricity-flavored vodka, whatever that means. But now, that onslaught of insane flavors is coming to a screeching halt.
While vodka is still the top selling spirit in the U.S. and flavored vodka helped expand the industry by about 1 percent this year, according to The Beverage Information & Insights Group, brands are pulling back on their fever pitch flavor production and streamlining their portfolios. This sobering turn may initially seem like bad news, but the shift is actually a response to customer preferences, which are driving the industry to focus on quality craft cocktails, natural flavors, transparent business practices and global awareness. So a little backpedaling might be just what the industry needs to keep the market growing and your drinks tasty.