Vodka: Premium Bonds

That’s not to say new flavours aren’t on the cards for Absolut but Westphal says careful planning is required to avoid market saturation.

“Each of the limited editions released is carefully vetted for both the artistic collaborators and the flavour that is introduced,” he says.

“This ensures each limited edition is of the highest quality and never is just a novelty. While we generally don’t comment on any upcoming releases, we can safely say we are always looking at new ways to elevate the vodka category and to collaborate with new artists.”

Earlier this year, Absolut dropped ‘vodka’ and ‘Country of Sweden’ from its bottle logo, believing the brand to be iconic enough without the extra words. The company has also started working with Brazilian artist Rafael Grampa, who will start a story that will be fed by consumer input. Eventually the whole thing will become an animated film. How’s that for innovation?

Westphal sees “great potential” for geographical expansion in emerging regions such as Asia and Africa where today he says “the development of the vodka category is at an early stage”.

As for continued growth in mature markets, he believes: “The potential for growth will be driven by new areas of opportunity and new occasions through the types of innovations.”

That’s the key to vodka’s longevity – new ideas. Vodka ordinaire might be the hardwood at the centre of the tree – the roots even – but new growth comes from the green shoots of innovation.