By Andrew Starke
Asian spirits account for the largest proportion of the world’s top hundred spirits brands by volume, according to a new survey.
The International Wine & Spirit Research survey, called The Real 100 list, found that forty-six out of the world’s hundred largest brands hail from the Asia-Pacific region, a development underpinned by growing economies across the region and their vast population bases.
Jinro soju from South Korea, owned by Hite Brewery, remains the undisputed number one global spirits brand.
Less than five percent of its volumes come from exports and Jinro sells double the volumes of runner-up Ruang Kao, a molasses-based product from Thailand.
The vast majority of brands in The Real 100 list are local brands in nature (selling chiefly in one market) and often low-priced.
But there are also a number of international brands on the list with Diageo-owned Smirnoff vodka the third-largest global brand, and the top international product on the list.
Other international brands featuring high up on the list include Bacardi rum (ranked 5th), Johnnie Walker (9th) and Pernod Ricard’s Absolut (19th).
This year’s list is dominated by vodka and shochu/soju (sold chiefly in Korea and Japan), both represented by 18 brands in the rankings.
The ‘other whiskies’ (ie. not Scotch, Irish, US or Canadian whiskies) category contributed 15 brands, with the largest of these being India’s market leader Bagpiper (8th overall), followed by McDowell’s whisky (10th), both owned by UB India.
Thirteen of the 15 ‘other whiskies’ on the list are Indian, again highlighting the dynamic growth of spirits brands within the emerging markets in Asia, and India in particular.
“Rising prosperity and more disposable income are the main reasons for the growth rates of so many Asian brands, and particularly the marked growth of so many Indian whisky brands and the top brandy and rum brands,” said IWSR chairman, Val Smith.
However, no figures by brand are available for Chinese baijiu and so this is not included on the list.
The largest two or three brands would certainly outsell any other brand mentioned.