Top 10 best-selling Scotch whiskies
With most Scotch whisky brands seeing rebounding growth in 2021, the category is still very much thriving. In our top 10 ranking, we’ve rounded up the labels that racked up the highest figures in case sales.
With not one brand shifting its ranking on our top 10 best-selling list of Scotch whiskies this year, it would be easy to assume the category has seen little activity – but the reality is far from it.
While the rocky year of 2020 resulted in a number of challenges for Scotch whisky brands, 2021 saw all but two brands bounce back with positive growth.
Earlier this month, we released our Brand Champions 2022 report outlining the sales of the world’s biggest spirits brands. Based on our findings, we’re counting down the biggest-selling Scotch whiskies on the market now.
Click through the following pages to discover the top 10 best-selling Scotch whisky brands of 2021, listed in order of their nine-litre-case sales.
Data listed is to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied to The Brand Champions 2022 report.
% change: 22.9%
Place last year: 10
After tumbling by -23.3% in 2020, Justerini & Brooks, more commonly known at J&B, has confidently bounced back, posting half a million more case sales in 2021. The Diageo-owned brand has maintained its spot on our best-selling list, and could see a return to its 2019 sales figures of 3m case if it continues on an upward trajectory.
J&B is a blend of 42 Scotch whiskies.
% change: 11.1%
Place last year: 9
Bacardi’s Dewar’s also saw a boost in 2021, jumping up towards the 3m case sales mark. The year was an active one for the brand, as it debuted a Port cask-finished whisky, became the official blended Scotch of the US open golf tournament – and introduced a 19-year-old bottling off the back of this – plus, it unveiled its sustainable metal packaging for its 12-year-old and 18-year-old blended Scotch whiskies.
Prior to the tumultuous year of 2020, Dewar’s was on a rising path for case sales – it even won title of Scotch Whisky Brand Champion for 2020.
8. Label 5
% change: -3.4%
Place last year: 8
La Martiniquaise-Bardinet’s blended Scotch brand Label 5 saw a minor dip in 2021, falling to 2.55m case sales, having posted 2.64m in 2020.
It has kept up its presence in the category with a variety of street art campaigns and collaborations, recently teaming up with Upfest, organiser of Europe’s largest street art festival, for a graffiti-themed activation.
In 2020, the brand sought to appeal to drinkers with the launch of its first single grain expression, which was finished in ex-Bourbon barrels.
7. William Peel
% change: -0.4%
Place last year: 7
William Peel witnessed a slight fall in sales in 2021, the second brand in the category to record a dip in 2021.
The brand’s owner, Paris-based Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (MBWS), has generally seen similar misfortune, posting a sales drop of 1% in its 2021 full-year results.
The group revealed it was considering removing 29 jobs in its French off-trade sales division as part of its plans to restore profitability.
6. Black & White
% change: 9.3%
Place last year: 6
Another of Diageo’s Scotch whiskies, Black & White saw positive results in 2021, with case sales growing 9.3%.
In 2020, it was the only brand to experience growth in the top 10 best-selling Scotch whiskies, and this upward trend has been continuing since 2017.
5. Chivas Regal
% change: 30.4%
Place last year: 5
Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Regal has experienced a successful year with a 30.4% boost in year-on-year growth.
After a challenging 2020, when it had the largest decline of any brand in our ranking, the brand picked up its progress in 2021 – the year it revealed its goal to continue its momentum through a new luxury-focused strategy targeting younger consumers.
The Scotch whisky firm’s performance contributed to Pernod Ricard’s overall organic sales growth of 9.7% in FY21.
4. William Lawson’s
% change: 4.9%
Place last year: 4
A stablemate of Dewar’s in the Bacardi portfolio, blended Scotch whisky William Lawson saw a jump of 4.9% in 2021.
A contributing factor to the boost could be its 13-year old expression launched in 2021 in India – a key market for the brand.
% change: 15.2%
Place last year: 3
William Grant & Sons’ Grant’s saw a significant rise in growth in 2021, despite a loss of 14.1% the year prior. The blended Scotch’s global travel retail range underwent a major revamp in 2018.
William Grant & Sons is the owner of Glenfiddich and Sailor Jerry spiced rum.
% change: 24.4%
Place last year: 2
Pernod Ricard’s second brand to make the top 10 list is Ballantine’s, which has bagged the runner up spot with growth of 24.4% in 2021.
Beating its 2019 volume by almost 1m cases, the brand has kept up with trends in the industry as of late, with its first foray into the world of gaming. The whisky brand partnered with video game series Borderlands to launch a limited edition bottling.
1. Johnnie Walker
% change: 35.4%
Place last year: 1
The Diageo-owned brand has not only racked up the highest number of case sales, but also the highest year-on-year growth, consequently earning it the title of this year’s Brand Champion.
Despite experiencing a -23.3% drop in 2020, the brand has held onto its number one position in our top 10 list.
In Diageo’s financial results for the first half of 2022, the Scotch whisky posted overall growth of 31%, supported by the performance of its Black Label bottling.
In 2021, the brand also opened its Princes Street visitor experience in Edinburgh, added to its Ghost and Rare series, appointed a new master blender to take the place of Dr Jim Beveridge OBE, and concluded its Masters series.