Top 10 best-selling world whisky brands
As interest in whisky from across the world swells, we analyse the performances of the leading players from North America, Japan and Ireland.
Whisky is enjoying strong momentum across the globe as consumers seek out premium aged bottlings to add to their drinks cabinets.
Whisky is expected to post an increase of 23% in volume and 29% in value by 2026, according to data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, with an increase in activity particularly in its largest global markets, India and the US.
In the States, whisky is predicted to be bigger than vodka by volume for the first time in two decades.
Earlier this month, we released our Brand Champions 2023 report outlining the sales of the world’s biggest spirits brands.
Excluding Scotch and Indian whisky, which each has its own dedicated section in the report, we analysed the performances of the biggest-selling whisky brands from Canada, the US, Japan and Ireland.
Most million‐case‐selling American whiskeys were in growth in 2022, while the Irish whiskey contingent welcomed a new member to the million-case crew. However, this brand is not (yet) among the top 10 best-sellers.
Scroll through to discover the top 10 best-selling world whisky brands of 2022, 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 2023 report.
10. Maker’s Mark
% change: 5.3%
Place last year: 10
Beam Suntory’s Bourbon brand, Maker’s Mark, retained its 10th position with a healthy 5.3% growth in 2022.
In Beam Suntory’s 2022 full-year financial results, the brand saw its sales rise by 11%.
Maker’s Mark also surpassed Bulleit as the top-selling Bourbon brand on US e-commerce platform Drizly last year.
The American whiskey brand also received B Corp certification in January 2022, becoming the largest distillery in the world to achieve the title, it claimed at the time.
9. Tory’s (including Highball)
% change: 1.7%
Place last year: 9
Like its stablemate Maker’s Mark, Japanese whisky Tory’s also held on to its ninth-place position.
Despite a slight increase in 2022, its sales have remained at 2.9m cases for the last three years.
Suntory recently revealed a 10 billion JPY (US$77 million) investment into its Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries to celebrate the company’s 100th whisky-making anniversary. Perhaps the company’s enhanced focus on its Japanese whisky portfolio this year could lead to an improvement in Tory’s sales in the future.
8. Evan Williams
% change: 1.5%
Place last year: 8
Bourbon giant Heaven Hill’s largest American whiskey brand, Evan Williams, saw a small uptick in sales last year.
Speaking to The Spirits Business last year, Heaven Hill co-president Kate Latts noted “interesting activity” for the brand in South Korea.
“We have a great partner in South Korea who’s really leaning into opportunities on that brand, and I would say that’s taken us by surprise – in a good way,” she said at the time.
A focus on Asian markets could see the brand reach new sales heights in the future.
7. Black Nikka
% change: 0.0%
Place last year: 7
Asahi Breweries-owned Black Nikka Japanese whisky reported stagnant sales last year, sitting at 3.3m cases since 2020.
Last year, the company released Nikka Discovery 2022, a pair of single malts, Yoichi and Miyagikyo Aromatic Yeast.
Nikka Whisky will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2024, which should bring some momentum to the brand’s sales as it plans commemorative releases and activities.
6. Suntory Kakubin
% change: 16.6%
Place last year: 3
Japanese whisky Suntory Kakubin reported a double-digit increase in 2022 to 6.1m cases. It was the only million-case-selling Japanese whisky brand to report significant growth in 2022.
Kakubin was first created in 1937 by Shinjiro Torii, Suntory’s founder and first master blender. Described as a ‘highly versatile’ whisky by Suntory, the brand is typically used as the base for a Highball cocktail in Japan.
5. Canadian Club
% change: 4.9%
Place last year: 6
Beam Suntory’s Canadian whisky brand continued its upward trajectory in 2022 with a modest 4.9% increase. It marked its third year in growth.
In Beam Suntory’s 2022 financial results, the brand noted that its ready-to-drink Canadian Club & Dry (mixed with ginger ale) grew by double digits.
The brand remains the second-biggest-selling Canadian whisky in the world.
4. Crown Royal
% change: -5.9%
Place last year: 5
Diageo-owned Crown Royal saw its sales slip by 5.9% in 2022 after a particularly strong performance in 2021 when case sales increased by almost 1m.
In March 2022, Diageo revealed plans to open a CA$245 million (US$190.96m) carbon-neutral distillery in Canada for the whisky brand.
Earlier this year, the Canadian whisky teamed up with Foo Fighters singer Dave Grohl to release a spot for the Super Bowl. The celebrity collaboration will likely help to increase the brand’s sales in 2023.
% change: 15.1%
Place last year: 4
The world’s biggest Irish whiskey brand has reported its second year of double-digit growth with sales growing by an impressive 15.1%.
The brand now sits at 11.1m cases and is targeting 15m by 2030, according to Brendan Buckley, international marketing director at Jameson owner Irish Distillers, the Irish whiskey arm of Pernod Ricard.
The Irish whiskey recently partnered with actor and comedian Aisling Bea to create its latest responsible drinking campaign.
2. Jack Daniel’s
% change: 7.9%
Place last year: 2
Brown-Forman’s Tennessee whiskey brand, Jack Daniel’s, reported its second year of growth after rising by 7.9% in 2022.
The brand’s growth for the year to 30 April 2023 was bolstered by its core variant, its ready-to-drink portfolio, and the launch of Jack Daniel’s Bonded Tennessee Whiskey.
Last year, the brand also entered the American single malt category with a new whiskey, exclusively in global travel retail, and a limited edition bottling finished in oloroso Sherry casks.
1. Jim Beam
% change: -1.6%
Place last year: 1
Remaining at the top of the world whisky leader board is Bourbon brand Jim Beam, which saw sales dip by 1.6% in 2022.
Brand owner Beam Suntory noted that the company’s sales growth in 2022 ‘accelerated’ up the price ladder for its key Bourbon brands with Maker’s Mark and Basil Hayden’s growing by double-digits, while Jim Beam was up single digits.
However, it noted double-digit growth for Jim Beam’s ready-to-drink portfolio.
Last year, the firm announced a US$400m investment in its Booker Noe Distillery in Kentucky to increase production capacity for Jim Beam.