There is very little available historical material pertaining to the actual origins of vodka but the earliest recorded use dates back to the early Middle-Ages in Poland where it was used traditionally as medicine. Smirnoff is currently the world’s leading vodka brand with sales volume of about 25.6 million 9 liter cases in 2019 alone. Founded in Moscow in 1864, Smirnoff is produced by the British company Diageo which is also the leading vodka supplier in the U.S., accounting for a 14 percent share vodka volume sale in 2019.
Also in the U.S., vodka generates by far the highest sales volume within the U.S. spirits industry with a 2019 sales volume that amounted to about 74.15 million 9-liter cases. In 2019, over 29.6 billion U.S. dollars in retail sales was generated from the production of vodka in the U.S. The volume of vodka imported to the United States in that same year amounted to around 40.52 millions of proof gallons while about 3.54 millions of proof gallons were exported from the United States. Smirnoff is also the leading vodka brand in the United States, accounting for an 11 percent share of vodka volume sales in 2019. That year, Tito's Handmade Vodka also accounted for an 11 percent share of vodka volume sales in the United States.
Vodka produced in the United States is required to have a minimum alcohol content of 40 percent. This is the same with most of the significant producers and consumers in the “vodka belt” that include: Russia, Poland, Russian, Belarus, Ukraine, as well as the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In the European Union, the established legal minimum is 37.5% ABV.
Vodka can be drunk neat, mixed or served chilled with ice. Vodka is also popularly used in cocktails and mixed drinks such as: Martini, Cosmopolitan, vodka tonic, Screwdriver, Greyhound, Moscow Mule, and Bloody Mary. In 2019 alone, over 100 million U.S. dollars was spent on advertising for vodka in the United States.