Vodka Is Having An Identity Crisis

This is one of the most bizarre marketing gimmicks we've seen in a while.

Everybody knows that the food business is always contending with some sort of competition, and brands have to evolve to stay relevant. There’s a reason why McDonald’s is testing upscale locations, Burger King churns out some new food-hybrid-monstrosity almost once a month (hello, Mac N’ Cheetos), and Oreo comes out with a limited-edition flavor what seems like every Wednesday.

Some things, however, are fine just the way they are -- or so we thought.

In a bizarre twist of events, distillers of clear spirits such as vodka are now making a shift toward producing barrel-aged vodka and gin. Why? Oh, so that the spirits appear darker and whiskey-like in hue.

Identity crisis, much?

Per Delish, The Wall Street Journal reported that vodka has seen a steep drop in sales, mostly because consumers seem to believe that darker liquors are more complex, more mature, and less likely to be cheapened with artificial tampering.

To be fair, we can more readily see ourselves offering our dignified grandfather a nice, single malt scotch, and not necessarily a cupcake-flavored vodka shot, but we digress.

Delish reports that plenty of brands are already hopping on the dark-hue bangwaggon, with companies such as Absolut adding a caramel-hued and barrel-aged vodka called Oak to its lineup, with the specific goal to attract whiskey lovers to the clearer side. 

Craft distilleries are getting in on the action too; Bull Run in Oregon and Grey Goose both offer vodka that has been aged in either whiskey casks or barrels.