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The top 10 best-selling regional speciality spirits brands

The regional speciality spirits category spans diverse geographies and spirit­ types – and includes the world’s largest spirit brand…

The regional speciality spirits category spans diverse geographies and spirit­ types

In this year’s Brand Champions report, a large number of regional speciality brands reported stagnant or declining volumes, triggered by the lure of international spirit brands for emerging middle­-class consumers and turbulent market conditions throughout Asia and Latin America.

Following our recently published Brand Champions 2017 report – our pick of those brands selling more than one million cases annually that are performing exceptionally within their category – we’ve compiled a list of the world’s best-selling regional speciality spirit brands on the market today.

It should be noted that Cachaça 51 parent Companhia Müller de Bebidas declined to disclose case sales this year.

Click through the following pages to discover the top 10 best-selling regional speciality spirits brands, listed in order of their nine-litre case sales.

10. Minstral

2016: 1.33m
2015: 1.22m
% change: 8.52%
Place last year: 10

Compañia Piquera de Chile-owned pisco Mistral recorded solid gains in 2016, up by 8.5% on the previous year – when it secured the accolade of Regional Specialities Brand Champion. Distilled from Pedro Jimenez and Muscat of Alexandria grapes in Chile’s Elqui Valle, the South American favourite continued to grow in the premium segment outside its domestic market last year, bolstered by consumer interest in artisanal brands.

9. Muginoka

2016: 2.02m
2015: 2.04m
% change: -0.98%
Place last year: –

Sitting within the ko-otsu blended shochu category, Muginoka slowed its rate of decline to -0.98% in 2016, equivalent to 20,000 nine litre cases – an improvement on the previous year, when it lost 90,000. As Japanese whisky further draws western bartenders attention to the country’s distilling efforts, will shochu start to shine globally in the coming years?

8. Yeni

2016: 3.40m
2015: 3.50m
% change: -2.86%
Place last year: 7

Diageo-owned Yeni Raki lost 100,000 cases in 2016, impacted by an ageing consumer base in its domestic market of Turkey. Produced from grapes, raisins, and anise, the outlook for the Turkish brandy looks fraught – an additional 7.8% special consumption tax was added to alcoholic beverages this month, an average increase of around four Turkish Liras for a 700ml bottle of raki.

7. Kanoka

2016: 3.40m
2015: 3.40m
% change: 0.00%
Place last year: –

Another stable year for Asahi Breweries-owned shochu Kanoka, which has sold the same number of nine-litre cases for the past four years. The name of the brand, which comes in barley, potato and rice variants, translates as “good fragrance”.

6. Aguardiente Antioqueño

2016: 3.57m
2015: 2.49m
% change: 43.71%
Place last year: –

Within the regional specialities category, Aguardiente Antioqueño saw the fastest growth in 2017, up by a phenomenal 43.71% last year. A newcomer to the leaderboard, owner Fábrica de Alcoholes y Licores de Antioquia shared its results with The Spirits Business for the first time this year. This particular Aguardiente –  a sugar cane spirit made in a similar fashion to rum – boasts flavours of black liquorice, peppercorn, and vanilla. While Antioqueno is the best-selling Aguardiente in Colombia, it is yet to repeat its glory days of 2012, when the brand boasted 4.37m cases.

5. Ypióca

2016: 4.80m
2015: 4.90m
% change: -2.04%
Place last year: 6

Diageo-owned Ypióca was the only million case-selling cachaça brand to post volume declines for the second year running, down by 2.04%. In July last year, the group issued an impairment charge on the brand totalling £118m. Latin America has been one of the most challenging markets for Diageo in recent years, due to currency weakness and subdued consumer demand.

4. Iichiko

2016: 7.81m
2015: 7.78m
% change: 0.39%
Place last year: 5

Sanwa Shurui-owned Iichiko turned its fortunes around in 2016 after two years of consecutive declines. Though the brand has not quite fully rebounded, it remains ahead of its category cousins by more than 4m cases.

3. Velho Barreiro

2016: 9.90m
2015: 9.90m
% change: 0.00%
Place last year: 4

Despite a bilateral GI agreement between Brazil and Mexico, and the Rio 2016 Olympics, the cachaça category remained relatively stagnant in 2016 – as Tatuzinho-owned Velho Barreiro demonstrated – thanks to the far-reaching effects of an economic recession. The brand remained just short of the coveted 10m case marker, reporting 9.90m.

2. Pitú

2016: 10.93m
2015: 10.64m
% change: 2.73%
Place last year: 3

Brazilian cachaça Pitú took the Regional Speciality Spirits Brand Champion 2017 title. Pitú is one of the world’s best-­selling regional speciality spirits brands, and sustained impressive sales in its domestic market last year despite the far­-reaching effects of an economic recession. According to Vitoria Cavalcanti, director of external affairs for Pitú, “2016 was a very important year for Pitú in the international market”, where volumes rose by 13%, bolstered by good growth in the US, Mexico and Germany, and a return to the Chinese and Indian markets.

1. Jinro

2016: 71.97m
2015: 71.50m
% change: 0.66%
Place last year: 1
The Korean soju’s volume sales sat steady at +0.66% in 2016, hitting 71.9m cases – the best-selling spirits brand in the entire world at more than double its nearest competitor, Indian whisky Officer’s Choice. In fact, it sold more nine-litre cases than the second and third places spirits combined. In addition to the Chinese austerity measures, a number of other social, economic and political hurdles have inhibited growth in Jinro’s key market, Asia, but the brand has a long way to fall before it comes close to losing its perch.

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