By Andrew Starke

Johnnie Walker has returned to The IWSR’s Elite Brands list at number one after the whisky brand tumbled from a regular top five position in 2010.

Five brands have managed to earn the title of Elite Brand every year since the first list was published in 2007: Jägermeister, Finlandia, Havana Club, Jameson and Buchanan’s.

The consistent top four Elite Brands – Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Absolut and Jack Daniel’s – all fell from the list in 2010 due to the effects of the global economic crisis.

However, Johnnie Walker has been quick to recover from the previous year’s losses with a massive volume increase of over 1.2m cases in 2010 enough to ensure the brand jump straight back up to take the top spot on this year’s list.

Just 11 brands met the strict criteria of The IWSR’s Elite Brands list this year, one more than last year.

Jägermeister was once again number two on the list, turning around a slight drop in volume in 2009 by gaining over 170,000 cases in 2010.

With a five-year CAGR of 5.3 percent between 2005 and 2010 Jägermeister has been a stalwart of The IWSR’s Elite Brands list and much of this is down to the brand’s powerful marketing strategy.

With global rum volumes increasing, Havana Club and Barceló, which both featured on last year’s list, saw double-digit growth in 2010, guaranteeing another appearance this year.

Havana Club’s wide international reach has ensured that poor performances in some southern European countries have been more than compensated for by gains across other regions.

There are four vodka brands on the list with Finlandia highest placed in fifth position.

Sixth-placed Sobieski managed to maintain similar global volumes to 2009 and still showed an impressive five-year CAGR of 9.3%, despite the economic crisis taking its toll on volumes in its main central European markets.

Russian Standard features on the list for the second year running.

Despite losing volumes in its home market Russia, the brand saw strong gains in the UK and US markets.

Eristoff joins the list at number eight, after gaining 100,000 cases in the UK market and 90,000 cases in the turbulent Russian market.

The criteria required to become an Elite Brand remain unchanged since 2007.

Brands must sell over one million cases worldwide, with at least 40 percent of sales outside their main market to demonstrate international presence, and also maintain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of at least 5 percent for the last five years of growth – i.e. 2005-2010 – to demonstrate sustained growth.

The IWSR’s Elite Brands for 2011

1 Johnnie Walker
2 Jägermeister
3 Havana Club
4 Jameson
5 Finlandia
6 Sobieski Vodka
7 Russian Standard
8 Eristoff
9 William Lawson
10 Barceló
11 Buchanan's

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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