North American, Irish & Japanese Whisky Brand Champion 2016

17th June, 2016 by admin

North American, Irish & Japanese Whisky Brand Champion: Suntory Kakubin


Suntory Kakubin witnessed an outstanding 143.3% volume growth in 2015


Further to our publication of the Brand Champions 2016, we are currently investigating a discrepancy in the figures, and received the following statement from Beam Suntory.

“The figures that Beam Suntory provided regarding Kakubin’s 2015 performance mistakenly referred to the entire Kakubin family including RTD, which resulted in an inflated FY 2015 growth figure in the original article.
“Beam Suntory flagged the error and is working with The Spirits Business to resolve the miscommunication and provide the correct data for Kakubin’s core range of bottle products. Excluding RTD, Kakubin still delivered impressive growth in shipments of 14.7% in 2015.”

We will update the figures as soon as possible.

Japanese whisky is the cool kid on the block right now, and the category’s 2015 sales are proof of the sector’s augmenting success. Storming ahead to claim the title of World Whisky Brand Champion was Suntory Kakubin with an astounding 143.33% upsurge in sales to 8.03 million nine-litre cases.

Success has been found largely in Asian markets, particularly Japan, said Ai Ozaki, of Suntory Holdings’ PR department.

“Japanese whisky again won many awards worldwide competitions in 2015 and we believe that interest in Japanese whisky in the rest of the world is increasing, along with its reputation,” Ozaki added. “Our suggestion of drinking Kakubin with soda as a Highball was extremely popular with customers. It led to the significant growth of Japan’s whisky market as a whole and was a driving force in accelerating the growth of our whisky business overall. We will continue to promote the high quality Highball primarily in Japan, as well as in other Asian markets.”

Kakubin wasn’t the only Japanese whisky to enjoy such a prosperous year – though none quite matched triple-digit phenomenon witnessed by the brand. Asahi Brewery’s Black Nikka reported significant double-digit achievements, with sales shooting up 20% to 2.4m cases.

As a whole, the world whisk(e)y category has had a prosperous year. Last year’s Supreme Brand Champion, Brown-Forman’s Jack Daniel’s, grew 4.38% to 12.2m cases – a notable feat – but one that was trumped by its Tennessee Honey expression which rose 12.93% to 1.45m cases. The majority of American million-case selling brands reported single or double-digit growth, displaying the category’s continued popularity.

It seems this success is moving north as well, with three out of four Canadian million-case selling whiskies reporting growth last year.

The standout Canadian performance came from Diageo’s Canadian whisky brand Crown Royal, which leapt 16.98% to 6.2m cases last year as the brand increased its global footprint with its first launch into the UK market. Following this, Diageo extended Crown Royal’s portfolio later that same year with the launch of its first blended rye whisky, Northern Harvest Rye. It then went on to become the “first” alcoholic beverage brand to print serving facts on its packaging in the US, alongside macro-nutritional information.

And of course, Ireland’s only whiskey brand selling more than one million cases – Jameson – reported solid 7.5% growth.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the rest of our Brand Champions 2016

BRAND OWNER 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 % +/-
Jack Daniel’s Brown-Forman 10.6 10.9 11.5 11.7 12.2 4.38%
Jim Beam Beam Suntory 5.9 6.3 6.9 7.4 7.3 -0.27%
Seagram’s 7 Crown Diageo 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.0 -16.67%
Evan Williams Heaven Hill 1.35 1.4 1.65 1.9 2.11 13.66%
Maker’s Mark Beam Suntory 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 8.72%
Wild Turkey Gruppo Campari 1.1 1.25 1.35 1.35 0.43 5.93%
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Brown-Forman 0.66 0.96 1.28 1.45 12.93%


BRAND OWNER 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 % +/-
Crown Royal Diageo 5.0 5.2 5.5 5.3 6.2 16.98%
Black Velvet Constellation Brands 2.0 2.2 2.2 2.0 2.1 0.60%
Canadian Club Beam Suntory 1.9 1.9 1.89 1.89 1.94 2.65%
Canadian Mist Brown-Forman 1.66 1.6 1.6 1.57 1.38 -9.39%


BRAND OWNER 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 % +/-
Jameson Pernod Ricard 3.8 4.1 4.6 4.9 5.3 7.51%


BRAND OWNER 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 % +/-
Suntory Kakubin Beam Suntory 2.6 2.8 3.1 3.3 8.0 143.33%
Black Nikka Asahi Breweries 1.8 1.8 2.0 2.0 2.4 11%


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