The world’s biggest-selling spirits brands revealed

04 July, 2018 by Andy Young

Global data and analysis company, The IWSR, has released its annual Top 100 listing of the world’s biggest spirits brands by volume, with the South Korean soju brand, Jinro, once again taking out the top spot.

Jinro, owned by Hite-Jinro, sold almost 76m nine-litre cases 44m more than the second-placed brand Ruang Khao. Jinro has grown for four years in a row seeing a 0.8 per cent increase in 2017 over 2016, which equates to over 600,000 more cases being sold.

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This year saw the 2016 second and third-placed brands swap places, with Thai Rum Ruang Khao increasing sales by 1.8 per cent to 31.7m cases while Indian whisky, Officer’s Choice, dropped by 2.5 per cent to 31.5m cases.

The list highlights the capacity of some local spirit brands to outgun global powerhouses, with Smirnoff (in sixth place) being the only truly global brand in the top 10, selling 25.6m cases, up 0.7 per cent on 2016.

Speaking about the list, The IWSR said: “While giant domestic Asian brands make up the lion’s share of the top 10, the international bestsellers are not far behind. Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky grew by two per cent last year, but fell one place to 12th, just ahead of Bacardi rum, unchanged in 13th, and Jack Daniel’s whiskey, which rose two places to 14th.

“These Western brands don’t completely rule their home markets as they face more competition from other international spirits brands, but their global reach ensures that they are still available to hundreds of millions of potential consumers and generally at affordable price points.”

The most represented category in the Top 100 is whisky with 29 brands featured, while there are 19 vodka brands and six rum brands.

The increased global demand for Japanese and Irish whiskey is reflected in the biggest climbers on the list with Nikka seeing 12 per cent growth pushing it from 96th in 2016 to 87th last year, the Jameson saw 12.1 per cent growth, moving it from 48th to 43rd on the list.

Eighteen of the brands in the Top 100 belong to Diageo, making the British company the most-represented owner on the list. Pernod Ricard follows with nine brands.