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The world’s best-selling local spirits

While 2022 saw local spirits remain in a mirrored ranking of 2021, it was a positive year for the category with nearly all brands in growth. We look at the performance of the category’s biggest players.

This year’s best-selling local spirits all ranked in the same places as 2022’s round-up

Local spirits comprise those outside of traditional categories, such as rum and vodka, and these bottlings are typically consumed in markets such as China, Chile and Korea – yet are working to reach new drinkers.

From cachaça and pisco to Korean soju, we’ve uncovered eight local spirits making waves in both their home markets and globally, after independently collecting data for The Brand Champions 2023 report.

Each brand remarkably ranks in the same position as the 2022 round-up, yet local spirits saw sales dip, grow, and remain the same.

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 2023.

Scroll through to discover the best-selling local spirits brands of 2022, listed in order of their nine-litre-case sales.

8. Shui Jing Fang

2022: 1.3m

2021: 1.2m

% change: 2.5%

Place last year: 8

Diageo’s baijiu has seen a small boost in growth in 2022, and was a newcomer to the list last year after it surpassed one million cases for the first time. The brand is said to be crafted in ‘the oldest distillery in China’ which has more than 600 years of continuous production.

7. Yeni

2022: 2.3m

2021: 2.3m

% change: 0.0%

Place last year: 7

Another Diageo-owned company on the list is raki brand Yeni, which didn’t budge in growth between 2021 and 2022.

The brand recorded negative sales growth for five years before 2021, and a 9.1% boost between 2020-2021. Yeni remains below its sales high of 3m cases in 2018.

6. Mistral

2022: 2.4m

2021: 2.3m

% change: 2.6%

Place last year: 6

Chilean brand Mistral was crowned the Local Spirits Brand Champion in 2022 and continued to grow in 2022 to report its highest case sales at 2.4m.

Owned by Compañía Pisquera de Chile, the pisco revealed last year it would roll out three major campaigns comprising TV advertising, out-of-home, radio and digital investment in 2022, which could be attributed to its 2.6% growth.

5. Kanoka

2022: 3.5m

2021: 3.4m

% change: 2.9%

Place last year: 5

Remaining in fifth place for the second year running, Asahi Breweries-owned shochu Kanoka saw a small boost of 2.9% between 2021-2022. This is an improvement on last year, when the brand reported a 5.6% drop in sales, from 3.6m cases to 3.4m.

The brand offers several expressions, including a sweet potato shōchū, a rice shōchū and a barley shōchū.

4. Ypióca

2022: 3.7m

2021: 3.6m

% change: 1.7%

Place last year: 4

Diageo’s cachaça brand, Ypióca, saw an ever so slight rise in sales last year, with 1.7% growth recorded as case sales reached 3.7m. The results will be a relief for the brand, having recorded consecutive sales declines since 2018.

3. Iichiko


2022: 7.1m

2021: 7.0m

% change: 1.4%

Place last year: 3

The second shochu on the list, Iichiko, only jumped up by 1.4% in sales in 2022, but is flogging a larger number of cases than the majority of other brands on the best-selling local spirits list. The brand’s sales have been up and down since 2018, wavering between 7.2m and 7.0m nine-litre case sales.

Iichiko is a barely-made spirit owned by Sanwa Shurui.

2. Chum Churum

2022: 26.0m

2021: 19.0m

% change: 36.7%

Place last year: 2

Chum Churum was a soju newcomer in 2020, and has seen great success in 2022 having leapt 36.7% in case sales to 26.0 million cases.

It’s particularly good news for the brand given that it suffered a 22% drop between 2019-2020, and 4.4% decline between 2020-2021.

At 16.5% ABV, the Korean soju is made from rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes and tapioca.

1. Jinro

2022: 100.9

2021: 94.5

% change: 6.8%

Place last year: 1

Jinro is the world’s biggest-selling spirit, returning to growth in 2022 after a minor decrease in 2021.

The brand was previously crowned Local Spirits Brand Champion in 2021 and 2023, as well as Supreme Brand Champion for 2023.

Having surpassed 100 million cases in 2022, the brand has hit a major milestone, and the spotlight is starting to truly shine on the Korean soju.

This achievement marks its fifth year of consecutive growth for the brand. In 2022, we interviewed Hwang Jung-Ho, the managing director of HiteJinro’s overseas business. Last year, the brand sponsored the London-based All Points East music festival last summer.

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