The world’s biggest-selling spirits brands
By Andy Young
The International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR) has published the 2017 edition of its annual list of the world’s top 100 spirits brands by volume.
The list highlights the capacity of some local spirit brands to outgun global powerhouses: with the drinking populations in India, Brazil and South East Asia continuing to grow Indian whiskies, cachaça and soju/shochu brands feature in high positions on the list.
The largest spirit brand by volume is once again the South Korean soju brand Jinro, which sold well over 65m nine-litre cases in 2016. Jinro has been the top selling spirit for a number of years and sold more nine-litre cases than the second and third placed spirits combined.
The second place went to Indian whisky brand ABD’s Officer’s Choice whisky, which sold 32.3m cases, while third-placed Thai Beverages’ Ruang Kao, a Thai rum, sold 31.2m cases.
With the markets for soju in South Korea, local whisky in India and cane spirits in Thailand being so big even the brands trailing far behind Jinro, Officer's Choice and Ruang Kao still feature in the IWSR’s global top 10. The soju brands Chum Churum (owned by Lotte, 26.2m cases) and Good Day (Muhak, 19.1m) rank fifth and ninth respectively, while the Indian whiskies McDowell's (Diageo, 25.6m) and Imperial Blue (Pernod Ricard, 18m) are at number six and 10. Number eight on the list is Thai Beverages' Hong Tong Liquor (20.7m cases).
While it is domestic giants dominating the top 10, they are closely followed by more internationally recognised brands; Johnnie Walker ranks 11th, Bacardi rum is 13th and Jack Daniel’s ranks as the 16th largest spirit by volume.
In terms of spirit categories, whisk(e)y is the dominant spirit style in the top 100, with 28 brands. There are 19 vodkas and six rums but in Jose Cuervo, which is 47th on the list, there is only one tequila in the top 100.
Diageo is the most represented company on the list with 18 brands, followed by Pernod Ricard with eight brands and Campari with four, although its highest brand is Skyy Vodka which is 77th on the list.