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What happened to Three Olives Vodka?

Three Olives Vodka was a brand of vodka that was hugely popular in the early 2000s. Known for its signature flask-shaped bottle and wide variety of unique and bold flavors like cherry, grape, and chocolate, Three Olives was a common sight at bars and liquor stores in the United States during its heyday.

However, in recent years, Three Olives seems to have disappeared from store shelves and bar menus. Many vodka drinkers have been wondering, what exactly happened to Three Olives Vodka and where did it go?

The History of Three Olives Vodka

Three Olives Vodka was founded in 1998 by SPI Group, which is a large spirits company based in Luxembourg that also owns other popular vodka brands like Stolichnaya. SPI Group debuted Three Olives to market it as an “ultra premium” vodka brand with high quality taste and unique flavors.

The vodka was distilled from wheat and water from Lake Ladoga in Russia. It was then imported to the United States where it was filtered with charcoal to remove impurities and bottled at 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume).

Three Olives got its name from a reference to the three olives martini cocktail. The brand’s signature bottle featured a curved shape reminiscent of a rounded martini glass. The plastic bottle also had an iconic oval stamp depicting three olives.

The vodka initially launched with fairly standard unflavored and citrus flavors like plain, orange, and lemon. However, over the next few years, Three Olives continually expanded its flavors portfolio with more exotic and dessert-inspired varieties.

Some of Three Olives’ most famous flavor releases included:

  • Cherry (2001)
  • Chocolate (2001)
  • Grape (2002)
  • Raspberry (2002)
  • Vanilla (2002)
  • Cake (2003)
  • Root beer (2003)
  • Loopy (2004)
  • Green apple (2004)

The whimsical and unusual flavors helped Three Olives stand out from other vodka brands on the market. The company’s marketing zeroed in on promoting Three Olives’ smooth taste and variety of flavors.

The Popularity and Growth of Three Olives in the 2000s

In the early and mid 2000s, Three Olives Vodka experienced massive growth in sales and becomes one of the top vodkas in the United States. It benefited from the trends of the time:

  • Flavored vodkas were becoming popular mixers for cocktails and with the rise of vodka soda drinks.
  • Whimsical, sweet flavors and packaging were trendy in the spirits market to attract younger legal drinking age consumers.
  • Smaller “boutique” vodka brands were breaking through instead of just the giant names like Absolut and Grey Goose.

Three Olives checked all those boxes with its funky bottle, sweet flavors, and marketing centering on lifestyle and having fun. As a result, sales skyrocketed and Three Olives became one of the fastest growing vodka brands in America.

Some stats showing Three Olives’ rapid success include:

  • By 2002, sales reached over 300,000 cases per year.
  • In 2007, Three Olives was the second-highest selling flavored vodka in the United States, after Absolut.
  • In 2008, sales topped one million cases and Three Olives passed Absolut as the #1 imported flavored vodka.

At the peak if its popularity in the mid 2000s, you could find Three Olives prominently displayed in liquor stores and it was a hugely popular vodka for bars and nightclubs. It was especially common in trendy clubs and urban areas. The brand achieved widespread fame and recognition in a short time thanks to smart marketing and aligning with consumer taste trends.

The Decline of Three Olives and Sale to Proximo Spirits

Despite its fast rise to success, by the late 2000s and early 2010s, Three Olives Vodka’s momentum had stalled and started to decline. A few factors contributed to the brand losing relevance:

  • The flavored vodka trend began fading as consumers moved on to different tastes.
  • Younger demographics began losing interest in vodka in favor of whiskey and tequila.
  • Small batch craft vodkas entered the market and stole share from larger brands.
  • Larger competitors responded with more flavors and unusual marketing – like Absolut’s flavors and Ketel One’s botanical line.

As a result, Three Olives struggled to connect with consumers and its annual sales dropped substantially to around 200,000 cases per year by 2014-2015. It was still one of the top 20 vodkas but was trending down quickly.

In 2015, likely due to declining sales, SPI Group sold the Three Olives Vodka brand to Proximo Spirits. Proximo is an alcohol importer based in New Jersey focused on marketing spirits. Proximo took over production, distribution, and marketing for Three Olives going forward.

Proximo Spirits Era and Recent Decline

Since acquiring Three Olives in 2015, Proximo Spirits has aimed to revitalize the brand and return it to growth. Their strategies included:

  • Introducing new flavors like peach, mango, and espresso.
  • Adding some nutritional flavors like grapefruit and cranberry apple.
  • Launching Three Olives Rose vodka aimed at female consumers.
  • Expanding distribution to capture impulse purchases.

However, despite Proximo’s efforts, Three Olives continued to decline under the new ownership. Some possible reasons include:

  • Flavors fatigue – focus on new flavors didn’t reignite interest.
  • Brand fatigue – younger consumers viewed Three Olives as outdated.
  • Rise of craft vodka – took share from Type Olives in stores.
  • Lack of marketing support – Proximo did not restore brand equity.

In 2020, Three Olives was still limping along but had clearly lost its standing compared to the boom it saw in the 2000s. It sold just over 150,000 cases, which amounted to less than $10 million in sales. It was far from its former position as a top imported vodka.

Where is Three Olives Vodka Today?

As of 2023, Three Olives Vodka is still owned by Proximo Spirits but is in a state of serious decline compared to its peak two decades ago. Here are some details on the current status of Three Olives:

  • Sales have dropped about 90% compared to 2008 when it sold over 1 million cases.
  • It’s estimated that under 100,000 cases are sold today annually.
  • It’s still available nationwide but stores carry far fewer flavors and varieties.
  • Production has likely declined substantially – it was formerly made in Latvia.
  • Marketing and promotion seem to be minimal to nonexistent.
  • Proximo has focused more energy on other vodka brands it owns.

While a few drinkers still request it, Three Olives has virtually disappeared from most bars and nightclubs where it was once a staple. You can still find it at liquor stores, but it typically only has shelf space for the original flavor or a few top sellers like grape or cherry.

It no longer comes close to competing with top flavored vodkas like Absolut, Svedka, and Pinnacle.

Possibilities for the Future

There are a few possible directions that may happen regarding Three Olives Vodka going forward:

  • Proximo continues selling it as a declining brand but keeps enough distribution to make it worthwhile.
  • Another company acquires Three Olives from Proximo to revive it.
  • Proximo discontinues the brand entirely in the near future.
  • A Three Olives resurgence could happen organically if flavored vodka comes back in style.

Based on the current trajectory, the likely scenario is that Three Olives will keep declining until Proximo decides to finally retire or sell the nostalgic brand.

Why Did Three Olives Vodka Decline so Rapidly?

Three Olives Vodka went from being one of the hottest vodka brands in America to almost disappearing from the market in the span of just 15 years. What led to such a fast rise and even faster fall? There were likely a few key factors behind the vodka’s sudden decline after dominating the 2000s booze scene:

  • Tastes changed – Flavored vodka fell out of favor as consumers moved on to other spirits like whiskey, tequila, and gin.
  • Demographic shift – Three Olives appealed heavily to young legal drinkers, who aged out of the brand.
  • Trend fatigue – The flavored vodka explosion was a fad. Three Olives didn’t stand out from an increasingly crowded field.
  • Loss of coolness – As the brand declined, it was viewed as outdated and lost buzz and relevance.
  • Craft vodka boom – Small distillers ate into Three Olives’ market share and stole shelf space.
  • Big brand muscle – Absolut and Svedka innovated and maintained share better than indie Three Olives.

In essence, Three Olives was banking heavily on continued growth of flavored vodka among younger demographics. When those trends shifted, the brand didn’t have a strong enough identity or loyalty to withstand changing tastes. It’s fate was likely sealed when SPI Group sold it to Proximo instead of investing to rebuild the brand.

Final Thoughts

Three Olives Vodka is almost like a time capsule back to the 2000s when it was one of the most popular alcohol brands in America. However, the flavored vodka boom was short-lived and Three Olives didn’t transition effectively to the next era of spirits consumption.

It serves as a cautionary tale that no brand can take success for granted forever. Constant innovation and building brand equity beyond a trend or fad is crucial for longevity. Otherwise, even famous brands can disappear in a remarkably short amount of time.

While its possible Three Olives could get bought and revitalized by a new owner, it appears the original magic is gone. Three Olives will likely soldier on as a declining novelty brand, serving as nostalgia for millennials rather than a hot spirit for the current generation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about the rise and fall of Three Olives Vodka:

When was Three Olives Vodka introduced?

Three Olives Vodka was founded in 1998 by SPI Group.

What flavored vodkas did Three Olives make?

Popular Three Olives flavors included cherry, chocolate, grape, cake, loopy, raspberry, and many more. At its peak, it sold over 20 different flavor varieties.

What are the best Three Olives flavors?

The most popular Three Olives flavors are citrus like orange and lemon, dessert like chocolate and cake, and fruit flavors like cherry, grape, and raspberry.

Does Three Olives still exist?

Yes, Three Olives Vodka still exists but at a fraction of its former sales and distribution. It is currently owned by Proximo Spirits.

When did Three Olives decline start?

Three Olives sales and popularity began declining around 2008-2010 as flavored vodka trended downward. It was sold to Proximo in 2015 after steep declines.

Is Three Olives vodka good quality?

Three Olives is generally considered a good quality spirit. It is distilled from wheat and water and then charcoal filtered. While not top shelf, it avoids shortcuts that would make it a bottom barrel spirit.

Is Three Olives still made in Latvia?

It’s unclear if Proximo still makes it in Latvia where it was originally produced. Production likely shifted when Proximo bought the brand in 2015.

Why did Three Olives vodka decline?

Three Olives declined primarily due to flavored vodka falling out of fashion. It also failed to attract new generations of drinkers. Competition from craft vodka and lack of marketing investment also contributed.


In conclusion, Three Olives Vodka experienced a remarkably fast rise and fall. It went from a retro flavored vodka brand to the second best selling imported vodka within a decade of launch. However, flavored vodka’s popularity was short-lived and Three Olives couldn’t sustain relevance as tastes changed. It lost its cool factor and declined rapidly. While still available, it is a shell of its former self. The Three Olives story serves as a lesson that brands must continually evolve and renew interest to survive over the long run.