Grey Goose (vodka)
|Country of origin||France|
|Introduced||1997 in USA|
|Alcohol by volume||40.0%|
|Variants||L'Orange, Le Citron, La Poire, Cherry Noir, Le Melon|
|Related products||List of vodkas|
Grey Goose is a brand of vodka produced in France. It was originally founded by Sidney Frank before its 2004 sale to Bacardi. The Maître de Chai for Grey Goose is François Thibault, who developed the original recipe for the vodka in Cognac, France.
Grey Goose was originally created by Sidney Frank Importing Co (SFIC). Sidney Frank, founder/CEO of the company, developed the idea in the summer of 1996. The initial idea for Grey Goose was to develop a luxury vodka for the American marketplace, something Frank had been considering for a while when he came up with the name. The development of the product followed from this initial intent. After its launch in the American market, Grey Goose became very popular due to a "confluence of timing and trends" according to Seth Stevenson, in addition to guerilla marketing techniques. Grey Goose was made more expensive than other premium vodka brands in order to produce a better product and to create a "superpremium" category in the American liquor market.
SFIC partnered with cognac producer François Thibault (a French Maître de Chai, or, Cellar Master) in France in order to transition his stills from cognac to vodka production. The company purposely selected France due to the country's culinary history and to differentiate itself from other vodkas produced in Eastern Europe. The water used to produce the vodka came from natural springs in France filtered through Champagne limestone, and made with locally produced French wheat. The company also developed its distinctive smoked glass bottle featuring French geese in flight, and delivered its product in wooden crates similar to wine.
In 1998 Grey Goose was named the best tasting vodka in the world by the Beverage Testing Institute. The company was eventually sold to Bacardi for US $2.2 billion in August 2004. That year Grey Goose was the best-selling premium brand vodka in the United States. The company sold more than 1.5 million cases that year.
The wheat used in the creation of Grey Goose vodka is grown in Picardy, France. Distilled in the same region, north and east of Paris, the distillate is then sent to Cognac, France, where it is blended with spring water and bottled. The wheat used in Grey Goose is soft winter wheat, sown in October and harvested in August, which provides it with four additional months of growth in comparison to summer wheat. The wheat sold to Grey Goose is categorized as "superior bread-making wheat", and wheat that is soft as opposed to hard.
Enzymes are used to break down the carbohydrates into fermentable sugars. The fermentation takes place continuously over six cascading tanks, producing a 20-proof beer. The bread-wine is then distilled into spirit using a five step process. The water used in the vodka comes from a natural spring 500 feet below the blending facility in Cognac, which is lined with limestone, providing calcium-rich spring water. The vodka is also filtered through a copper filtration system in order to impart additional flavours. That water is then filtered to remove impurities. After the filtration the vodka is bottled in a plant dedicated solely to bottling Grey Goose. Grey Goose vodka is bottled with a replaceable cork rather than a screw-top cap.
Grey Goose is the first vodka to be produced in the Maître de Chai tradition, which allows aromas to be produced in the distillation process specific to Grey Goose vodka. It is made from 100% French ingredients, including flavored versions of the vodka. For instance, Grey Goose La Poire was the result of Thibault's relationship with a Parisian pastry chef, whose pear tarte inspired the recipe for the new vodka flavor.
Some have claimed that Grey Goose vodka does not create excess heat on the palate while being consumed, creating a smoothness in flavor. Grey Goose Le Citron is a lemon flavored vodka that tastes of lemon zest and juice. Grey Goose Cherry Noir is a black cherry flavored vodka, Grey Goose L'Orange is an orange flavored vodka, and the now retired Grey Goose La Vanille tasted of vanilla, as well as hints of cinnamon and caramel. Grey Goose Le Melon, the latest flavored expression released in Summer 2014 is made with Cavaillon melons from the Provence region of France. Thibault has stated that Grey Goose does not plan to expand its number of flavored vodkas extensively, in order to not deviate from the original taste. The company has sponsored Grey Goose Taste by Appointment events in which personal mixologists attempt to match Grey Goose cocktails to the taste profiles of patrons at upscale establishments.
- Jim Rendon (October 31, 2004). "Want to Profit From Vodka? Follow That Grey Goose". New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Seth Stevenson (2004). "The Cocktail Creationist". New York Magazine. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Ivan Drapeau (September 22, 2011). "La fabuleuse aventure de la vodka de Cognac". Charente Libre. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Sidney Frank (September 1, 2005). "How I Did It: Sidney Frank, founder, Sidney Frank Importing". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Matthew Miller (September 10, 2004). "Grey Goose Billionaire's Second Act". Forbes. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Camper English (October 4, 2012). "How Grey Goose is Made". Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Kathryn Jezer-Morton. "A Man's Guide To Premium Vodka". AskMen. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
- Liza Weisstuch (May 2009). "Francois Thibault: Maître de Chai". Beverage Business. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Lucy Brennan (2007). Hip Sips: Modern Cocktails to Raise Your Spirits. Chronicle Books. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Ray Foley (2006). Bartending For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. p. 104. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- "All in Good Taste". The Guardian. May 13, 2011. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grey Goose vodka.|
- Grey Goose website
- The Cocktail Creationist magazine, January 10, 2005.
- New York Times: A Humble Old Label Ices Its Rivals January 26, 2005. (Relevant to topic on superpremium vodka market.)