The Brand Champions 2017

The definitive guide to leading spirit brands' year-on-year sales performance

This year’s Brand Champions listings show which famous spirits are soaring, which are falling, and which have won our coveted crowns.

For a spirit brand to reach one million case sales annually is no small feat: it takes smart investment, solid routes to market and top ­class marketing, with, of course, a quality liquid that can confidently hold consumer mindshare.

Published annually, The Brand Champions report assesses the performance of these drinks giants, casting an eye both on brands rooted in local markets and those that dominate the international stage.

As The Spirits Business discovered, 2016 proved tricky for many industry leaders, as geopolitical and economic obstacles hampered sales around the globe.

Korean soju brand Jinro held onto its position as the world’s largest spirit brand and maintained the vast space between it and its closest rival, Indian whisky Officer’s Choice.

A number of brands passed the million­ case mark for the first time in 2016, while some tumbled below that.

Some familiar names are missing from the report this year – United Spirits was unable to disclose figures for some of its brands after signing a number of franchise agreements in India. Others again declined to disclose their figures.

It is clear that a vast number of spirits brands boast enviable volumes. However, to be a Brand Champion requires something different: such an accolade is reserved for those brands that impress beyond sheer volumes alone.

Our team of journalists examined the performances of these high­ volume brands and selected an elite few for special recognition, taking into account everything from new product development to consumer education initiatives. To be named Brand Champion is, ultimately, to be recognised for promoting all ­round excellence within a particular spirit category.

See the adjacent column to discover the spirits that sold more than 1m cases last year, as well as The Brand Champions 2017 of each individual category.