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The Top Ten Spirits

To the dark side

Smirnoff remains the clear leader, but there are fluctuations in positions down the list. Asian demand for high-end dark spirits is strengthening their positions and putting white spirits under pressure.


Brand owner: Diageo
Head office: Lakeside Drive, London, NW10 7HQ
Tel: +44 (0) 208 978 6000
Brand director: Simon Burch
PR: Diageo Press Office, +44 (0) 20 8978 2749
Product range: Smirnoff Red, Black, Blue, Norsk, Apple, Lime, Cocktails, Smirnoff Ice, Smirnoff Black Ice
Volume 2010: 24.8m 9l cases
Volume 2009: 24.4m 9l cases
Change 09-10: 1.6%
2010 ranking: 1


The world’s leading vodka brand once again comfortably leads the way in the global spirits category, driven by hi-vis publicity campaigns across various media. The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project asked consumers in 2010: “What makes your country’s nightlife the best in the world?”

Rallied by curators in 14 countries, Facebook users submitted 33,000 suggestions, from local music artists to cocktail recipes.

The best ideas were packed into crates, exchanged between pairs of countries and then brought to life in 14 events on 27 November 2010: “The Day the World Swapped Nights”.

The campaign was supported through the line, on TV, digital, PR and social media and experientially through cultural-exchange events. Smirnoff continues to be the industry leader in innovation with 2010 seeing the launches of Ready to Drink Smirnoff Signature Mixed drinks in Asia, and Premium Mixed Drinks in the US.


Brand owner: Bacardi Global
Head office: 28 Dorset Square, London, NW1 6QG
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7563 3400
Brand director: Stella David
PR: Patricia Neal, +1 294 1110
Volume 2010: 20.3m 9l cases
Volume 2009: 18.6m 9l cases
Change 09-10: 9.14%
2010 ranking: 2

Bacardi has led the way as the global rum category has enjoyed a cocktail-led boom over the past couple of years.

Despite the headway made by dark, golden and spiced rums, the white rum category remains firmly in front, mainly due to its use in Mojito cocktails around the world.

Indeed, according to the drinks business Power Brands 2011 survey, Bacardi was the world’s biggest riser.

The brand benefited over the course of the year from the marketing might and distribution clout of the Bacardi- Martini family as well as the growth in interest in mixable spirits. This year in the UK the brand unleashed the Bacardi Bats as the rum hosted a series of on-trade events as part of its 2011 Bacardi Together campaign.

Over 300 events at selected on-trade venues, as well as events such as Lovebox, The Big Chill and Rockness, will see the Bacardi Bats move in with their own pop-up bar, glassware, sharing vessels, extra staff, posters and gifts.


Brand owner: Diageo
Head office: Lakeside Drive, London, NW10 7HQ
Tel: +44 (0) 208978 6000
Brand director: Gavin Pike
PR (UK): Diageo press office, +44 (0) 20 8978 2749
Product range: Red, Black, Green, Gold and Blue Labels, Johnnie Walker, Double Black
Volume 2010: 16.4m 9l cases
Volume 2009: 16.3m 9l cases
Change 09-10: 1%
2010 ranking: 3

As well as occupying third spot by volume, Johnnie Walker is the world’s most valuable spirit brand in value terms.

Increased marketing investment led to organic net sales growth and share gains in many key markets such as global travel, Mexico and China. The roll-out of Johnnie Walker Double Black in most duty free shops helped contribute to the continued strong international performance.

Elsewhere Johnnie Walker has expanded a global campaign platform inviting consumers to “Step Inside the Circuit” of Grand Prix racing. This expansion kicked off at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne the weekend of 25-27 March 2011.

Formula 1 racing stars Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button signed up as part of the campaign.


Brand owner: The Absolut Company
Head office: Arstaängsvägen 19A, 11797 Stockholm, Sweden
Tel: +46 8 744 70 00
Brand manager: Adam Boita
Product range: Absolut vodka,Berry, Acai, Peppar, Citron, Kurant, Mandarin, Vanilla, Raspberri, Peach, Ruby Red, Pears, Mango, Absolut 100
PR (UK): Weber Shandwick, +44 (0) 20 7067 0000
Volume 2010: 9,900m 9l cases
Volume 2009: 10,200m 9l cases
Change 09-10: -2.9%%
2010 ranking: 4

Available in over 150 markets, Absolut is the number-one selling vodka in the global travel retail channel. Regular re-evaluations of its flavour range has led the brand to significantly consolidate its core offering over the past couple of years. Since it was first bottled more than 30 years ago, Absolut has run a number of creative initiatives. Andy Warhol painted the first art ad for the brand.

The Absolut Art Collection today comprises more than 800 pieces by artists including Damien Hirst.


Brand owner: Diageo
Address: Lakeside Drive, London, NW10 7HQ
Tel: +44 (0) 208978 6000
PR: Diageo press office, +44 (0) 20 8978 2749
Product range: Original Spiced, Long Island Iced Tea, Jamaican, 100 Proof Spiced Rum, Private Stock
Volume 2010: 9m 9l cases
Volume 2009: 8.8m 9l cases
Change 09-10: 2.3%
2010 ranking: 6

Captain Morgan has continued its strong global performance on the back of its advertising slogan – ”Got a Little Captain in you?” – and its focus on a lead serve with the simple bar call of “Captain & Cola”. Additionally, the Captain himself has become ever more prominent in the marketing mix, including hosting the first ever Captain’s Cup which featured consumers from 10 markets across four continents.

The brand is also benefiting from the boom in spiced rums, with Morgan’s Spiced undergoing a rebranding earlier this year to align it more centrally with its parent product. With launches into markets as diverse as Mexico, Netherlands, Poland and India, the future looks ship shape.


Brand owner: Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands
Head office: 45 Mortimer Street London, W1W8HJ
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7478 1300
Brand director: Louise Snowball
PR (UK): Publicasity, +44 (0)207 6322400
Product range: Old No.7, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Tennessee Honey
Volume 2010: 8.8m 9l cases
Volume 2009: 9.5m barrels
Change 09-10: -7.4%
2010 ranking: 5

Earlier this year Jack Daniel’s rolled out Tennessee Honey across the UK – marking the brand’s first major new launch for quite some time.

Jack Daniel’s will once again be celebrating Mr Jack’s Birthday, which takes place in September, with a host of celebrational activity across 2011. Live music and hi-vis poster campaigns will once again form the cornerstones of the brand’s marketing campaigns.



Brand owner: Tequila Cuervo La Rojena, S.A. de C.V. (US), Tequila Cuervo S.A. de C.V. (outside US)
Address: Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena 800, 4to Piso, 01210 Centro de Ciudad, Zedec, Santa Fe, Mexico D.F. Mexico
Tel: +1 011 52555258 7000
Brand director: Maggie Lapcewich
PR (UK): Diageo press office, +44 (0) 20 8978 2749
Product range: Cuervo Especial Gold & Silver; Cuervo Tradicional Reposado & Silver; Cuervo Black; Platino; Reserva de la Familia
Volume 2010: 7m 9l cases
Volume 2009: 7m 9l cases
Change 09-10: 0%
2010 ranking: 7

The José Cuervo portfolio continues to innovate within the Tequila and ready-to-serve cocktail categories, with the most recent launch of Tradicional Silver 100% agave Tequila, Authentic Cuervo Light Margaritas with less than 100 calories per serving, Authentic Cuervo Watermelon Margarita and Zero Calorie Margarita Mix.

Cuervo Especial Gold, the number one Tequila worldwide, launched an Especial Silver variant just over two years ago. As the fastest growing silver Tequila, Cuervo Especial Silver continues to deliver double digit growth, shifting over 400,000 nine-litre cases this year in the US market alone.


Brand owner: Mast-Jägermeister AG
Head office: Jägermeisterstrasse, 7-15 Boulevard 38296 Wolfenbüttel, Germany
Tel: +49 (0) 53 31 81 0
PR: International Public Relations +49 53 31 81 0
Product range: Jägermeister herbal liqueur, Schlehenfeuer fruit liqueur
Volume 2010: 6.6m 9l cases
Volume 2009: 6.4m 9l cases
Change 09-10: 3%
2010 ranking: 9

Though its rate of growth has slowed over the past couple of years, few can deny that Jägermeister has been one of the success stories of the past decade in the global spirits sector.

Recent new initiatives from the brand have included the introduction of a new serve at -18 degrees Celsius, designed to make it more approachable and female friendly as a standalone shot.


Brand owner: Diageo
Address: Lakeside Drive, London, NW10 7HQ
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8978 6000
Brand director: Philip Almond
PR: Diageo press office, +44 (0) 20 8978 2749
Product range: Baileys Original Irish Cream, Hazelnut, Mint Chocolate, Crème Caramel, Coffee
Volume 2010: 6.6m 9l cases
Volume 2009: 6.7m 9l cases
Change 09-10: -1%
2010 ranking: 8

Baileys remains the undisputed leader in the global liqueurs category, though sales remain highly seasonal with the Christmas period still proving far more successful for the brand than any other time of year.

This year saw the launch of the new global advertising campaign – “Let’s Do this Again” – which has outperformed all previous Baileys campaigns.


Brand owner: Chivas Brothers
Head office: Chivas House, 72 Chancellors Road, London, W6 9RS
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8250 1801
PR (UK): Richmond Towers, +44 (0) 20 7388 7421
Volume 2010: 5.8m 9l cases
Volume 2009: 6.2m 9l cases
Change 09-10: -6.5%
2010 ranking: 10

During this year Ballantine’s has launched a number of packaging innovations and limited editions.

Ballantine’s Finest produced a special edition gift tin and a “Trompe L’oeil” tin was developed for Ballantine’s 12 Year Old. In Asia, a golf pack was produced for Ballantine’s 17 Year Old inspired by the Ballantine’s 17th signature hole (the player who scores a birdie receives a bottle of Ballantine’s 17 Year Old) which was launched in duty free.

The 2010 Championship Blend celebrated the annual golf tournament. This exclusive blend included 50-year old whiskies from when the very first Ballantine’s-sponsored tournament was held at Wentworth Golf Club in the UK.

Finally, Ballantine’s Limited was relaunched in duty free.

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