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World Whisk(e)y Brand Champion 2018: Jameson

This year’s Supreme Brand Champion is also our World Whisk(e)y Brand Champion 2018

Consumers are developing a real taste for whiskies from around the globe, be they from Japan, the US, Europe or Australia. In fact, Japanese whiskies are proving so popular that some producers have had to temporarily discontinue certain expressions – particularly those bottled with an age statement.

But Irish whiskey is the fastest­-growing spirit category in the world. Until 2016, there was only one million-­case­-selling brand: Jameson, which is this year’s World Whisk(e)y Brand Champion. The Pernod Ricard-­owned brand has pioneered the category’s growth over a number of years by exerting a mass-­audience appeal.

Not only that, but in a sector that is expanding as quickly as Irish whiskey – the category is on track to reach its 2020 goal to grow sales to 12m cases, according to the Irish Whiskey Association – Jameson has retained its market domination and delivered consistent year-on-­year growth. In 2017, the brand recorded an 11.3% spike in sales to reach 6.9m nine-litre cases.

Simon Fay, international marketing director, Irish Distillers, the Irish spirits arm of Pernod Ricard, said: “People are discovering Jameson on a daily basis all around the world. In general, people are becoming more discerning. They want to make sure the money they spend is getting them good value, quality products – and quality cocktails, too.” Fay describes the on-­trade as “very important for us”. Jameson’s Black Barrel expression is targeted towards the cocktail industry, whereas the original Jameson is designed to be sipped neat or in “more simple serves”, as Fay describes them.

“The on-­trade is very important when you look at the products we have in the Jameson family,” he adds. “As we have come out of the global downturn of the past decade, you can start to see little improvements, with more people having the confidence to go back to the on-­trade and spend more money. It depends on the market, however. South Africa, for example, is 80% off­-trade and 20% on­-trade for us.”

Fellow Irish whiskey leader Tullamore Dew, last year’s World Whisk(e)y Brand Champion, also delivered impressive growth in 2017 (12.4%), having only joined the million­-case ranks the previous year.

In American whiskey, Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark both experienced a 10.6% sales rise. Canadian whisky showed mixed results, with Diageo’s Crown Royal recording the biggest growth of 2.9%. The Japanese whiskies, as one might expect, had a solid 2017, with Black Nikka growing by 11.1% and Suntory Kakubin up by 4%.

*The Brand Champions data is listed to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied. All brand data is supplied in millions of nine-­litre cases.

World whisk(e)y (figures: million 9l case sales)

BRAND OWNER 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 %+/­-
Jack Daniel’s Brown­-Forman 11.5 11.7 12.2 12.5 12.9 3.6%
Jim Beam Beam Suntory 6.9 7.4 7.4 8.0 8.9 10.6%
Evan Williams Heaven Hill Brands 1.7 1.9 2.1 2.3 2.4 6.0%
Maker’s Mark Beam Suntory 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.9 10.6%
Seagram’s 7 Crown Diageo 2.4 2.4 2.0 1.9 1.7 -10.5%
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Brown-­Forman 1.0 1.3 1.5 1.5 1.6 8.9%
Wild Turkey (including Wild Turkey American Honey) Gruppo Campari 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.5 3.4%
Crown Royal Diageo 5.5 5.3 6.2 6.8 7.0 2.9%
Black Velvet Constellation Brands 2.2 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.2 0.5%
Canadian Club Beam Suntory 1.9 1.9 1.9 2.0 2.0 -1.2%
Canadian Mist Brown­-Forman 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.2 -4.2%
Jameson Pernod Ricard 4.6 4.9 5.3 6.2 6.9 11.3%
Tullamore Dew William Grant & Sons 0.9 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.2 12.4%
Suntory Kakubin Suntory Spirits 2.9 3.2 3.6 3.3 3.4 4.0%
Black Nikka Asahi Breweries 1.8 2.0 2.4 2.7 3.0 11.1%

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