A group of Vodka Cup aficionados is asking producer Diageo to reinstate the drink, which disappeared from the shops last year
The British summer has been looking a little grimmer ever since Vodka Pimm’s vanished from the nation’s shelves, but a group of campaigners is determined to bring it back.
Diageo, the company the makes Pimm’s, has historically produced many versions of its gin-based drink, including whisky (No.2) and rum (No.4). The vodka-based Pimm’s No. 6 is much drier than the original and “monumentally popular” in golf, country and London clubs, according to Alistair Troughton. So when it became hard to find at the tail end of 2020, fans were very upset — particularly because this is not the first time Vodka Pimm’s disappears from the shops.
Seven years ago, Diageo announced it would stop producing No. 6 because of low demand. “At the time, we launched a campaign, managed to get a huge amount of support and Diageo replied to us that they had decided to bring it back,” says Mr Troughton, who, together with fellow Vodka Cup enthusiast Angus Campbell, is also spearheading this year’s campaign. “We had a relaunch party in the City of London Club.”
According to Troughton, however, the drink was only supplied in small amounts to very few outlets — and when even the few shops that had stocked the Vodka Cup ran dry in 2020, fans began to fear the worst. “We were very disappointed when, at the end of last year, you couldn’t buy it or get it online. We got in touch with Diageo and they said they had discontinued Vodka Pimm’s because of Covid and they’d probably bring it back this spring.”
Eventually, however, the company informed Troughton and Campbell that the drink would no longer be produced. “It is very frustrating. We are cross that they said they’d bring it back and didn’t. That’s why we started this campaign.”
Diageo explained to the campaigners they were discontinuing the Vodka Cup because they still didn’t sell enough of it. “But they haven’t done any marketing. I’m a salesman: if you can’t see something, you can’t buy it. If the public doesn’t know Vodka Pimm’s is available, it’s not a surprise that sales are disappointing.”
With the backing of hundreds of people and the support from a vast array of clubs representing thousands of members, Troughton and Campbell are hoping that Diageo will change its mind and reinstate the Vodka Cup, as it previously did – except that this time, says Troughton, “we’d like a commitment from them that they’ll promote it, market it and make it readily available”.
This looks unlikely at the moment, with a Diageo spokesperson saying, “Over the last few years, sales of the No. 6 Vodka Cup have been at such small levels that it is no longer viable to continue this particular variety within the Pimm’s portfolio. We are grateful to the small group of loyal supporters of No. 6 Vodka Cup and hope they will be tempted to try our new Pimm’s Sundowner, an exciting new aperitif drink launched this Summer.”
So what might happen next? Such is the strength of feeling among the campaigners that it’s not inconceivable they may even end up making their own version of the drink.
To show your support for the campaign, please follow the Vodka Cup Pimm’s Twitter handle and like or retweet this Tweet
Alternatively, please post to the Pimm’s Facebook page asking where you can find the Vodka Cup.