Top 10 best-selling world whisk(e)y brandsBy Owen Bellwood
Scotland may boast some of the oldest and India some of the highest-volume whiskies, but here we count down the best-selling brands from the world’s other whisk(e)y-making regions.
As Irish whiskey maintains its rising popularity, Japanese whisky and American whiskey strain to keep up with demand. Regardless, the world whisk(e)y category is in a healthy place.
According to this year’s Brand Champions supplement, there was strong growth across the world whisk(e)y category – with nine out of the top 10 brands in our list posting solid growth in 2018.
With new entries in the top 10 looking to disrupt the field, we worked through the results of our Brand Champions 2019 data to uncover the 10 best-selling world whisk(e)y brands.
Click through to the following pages to discover the largest world whisk(e)y brands listed in order of their nine-litre case sales.
Data is listed to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied to The Brand Champions 2019.
10. Maker’s Mark
% change: +11.8%
Place last year: 10
Beam Suntory-owned Maker’s Mark retains its position as the 10th best selling world whisk(e)y brand. The American whiskey has seen its sales grow solidly over the last five years, increasing from 1.5m nine-litre cases in 2014 to 2.2m in 2018.
With the launch of its first travel retail-exclusive bottling and a host of other innovative products over the last 12 months, the brand has also strived to up its eco-credentials through partnerships with outdoor brand United By Blue.
9. Suntory Torys
Place last year: –
Suntory posted gains for its Japanese whisky brand Suntory Torys in 2018, with sales increasing by 16.1% to earn the brand its place in the top 10.
Sales of the Japanese brand have increased by almost 1m cases since 2014, rising from 1.4m nine-litre-cases to 2.3m cases.
In this year’s report, figures from Suntory included its canned RTD expressions – such as the Suntory Tory Highball.
8. Evan Williams
% change: +4.9%
Place last year: 7
Despite good performances for the brand over the past five years, Evan Williams has dropped to the eighth place and is now the fourth best-selling American whiskey in the list.
7. Seagram’s 7
% change: -6.2%
Place last year: –
The only brand in this year’s top 10 to see its sales dip in 2018 was Diageo-owned American whiskey Seagram’s 7. The brand’s volumes fell from 2.9m cases to 2.7m in 2018 – a decrease of 6.2%.
As it looks to transform its fortunes, Seagram’s launched its first marketing campaign in a decade last year, and recently partnered with US rock band The Kills to honour US dive bars.
6. Black Nikka
% change: +6.7%
Place last year: 6
Asahi Breweries-owned Black Nikka continued its years of consecutive growth to post sales of 3.2m cases in 2018, retaining its place as the sixth best-selling world whisk(e)y brand.
The brand’s sales have grown every year for the past five years, increasing from 2m cases in 2014.
Last year, Black Nikka owner Asahi Group pledged to ban all experiments on animals unless required by law following discussions with Peta.
5. Suntory Kakubin
% change: +7.1%
Place last year: 5
As demand for Japanese whisky continues to outstrip supply, Suntory-owned Kakubin retained its position as the fifth best-selling world whisk(e)y brand after it sold 5m cases in 2018.
After sales grew by 7.1%, according to Brand Champions data, Suntory Kakubin remains the top-selling Japanese whisky brand.
However, as producers in Japan continue to struggle with demand, brand owner Beam Suntory announced earlier this year that it has discontinued six bottle formats across its Shirokaku, Chita and Kakubin brands.
4. Crown Royal
% change: +3.4%
Place last year: 3
Diageo-owned Crown Royal retains its position as the best-selling Canadian whisky and the third top-selling world whisk(e)y brand.
2018 saw the brand up its sales by 3.4% to reach 7.3m nine-litre cases – an increase of 300,000 cases.
In the last 12 months, the brand has launch two innovative new products – a peach-flavoured whisky and a new French oak cask-finished bottling – and continued its partnership with the National Football League in America.
% change: +9.3%
Place last year: 4
After claiming the title of World Whisk(e)y Brand Champion in 2018, Pernod Ricard-owned Jameson continued its growth trajectory to reach sales of 7.5m nine-litre cases in 2018.
In the last 12-months Jameson has unveiled a refreshed bottle design, a second iteration of its Dublin-aged 18-year-old, a new campaign with record producer Anderson .Paak and carried out a St Patrick’s Day expedition – it’s no wonder that the brand was cited with boosting Pernod Ricard’s latest nine-month sales.
2. Jim Beam
% change: +9.8%
Place last year: 2
Taking the second position in our top 10 and this year’s World Whisk(e)y Brand Champion title is Beam Suntory’s American whiskey marque Jim Beam, which posted solid growth last year (9.8%) and has seen its sales increase by almost 3m nine-litre cases since 2013.
With expansion on the horizon for its Kentucky distillery, Jim Beam looks poised for further growth in the coming years. As well as reaching sales of 9.7m cases, the last 12 months saw the American whiskey brand launch an educational programme for distillers, create its Raised Right global campaign and release a host of limited-edition expressions as it eyes 10m cases.
1. Jack Daniel’s
% change: 2.7%
Place last year: 2
Brown-Forman-owned Jack Daniel’s remains the biggest-selling brand in the world whisk(e)y category, and saw its sales grow by 2.7% in 2018 to reach 13.3m cases.
The last 12-months has seen the brand unveil a host of activations and innovations to assert its dominance in the market, including the launch of its Tennessee Tasters range of “experimental” whiskeys, the creation of its own branded podcast and the unveiling of a limited-edition bottle design.