Top 10 biggest-selling Tequila brands
Ask any industry expert what the hottest spirits category is right now, and most are likely to say Tequila. But how are the world’s biggest brands performing?
The Mexican spirit overtook American whiskey last year to become the second most valuable spirit category in the US, as reported by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, sitting only behind vodka. By the end of 2023, IWSR expects Tequila will be in the number-one spot.
Figures from the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) revealed Tequila and mezcal’s revenue rose to US$6 billion last year – up by 17.2%.
This year’s Tequila Brand Champion title was bestowed upon Hornitos, owned by Beam Suntory. The brand delivered double-digit volume growth in 2022 (10.0%) following consistent year-on-year growth.
While Beam Suntory’s Sauza slipped below the million-case mark, a newcomer from Bacardi means there are still 10 million-case-selling Tequila brands, which we explore below.
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.
% change: 31.5%
Place last year: N/A
Bacardi-owned Cazadores made its Brand Champions debut this year after passing the million-case sales mark in 2022. The brand enjoyed 32.5% growth to reach 1.0m cases.
Cazadores is made today using the brand’s original 1922 recipe – including 100% Blue Weber Agave. The production process prides itself on creating no waste – and also includes Mozart. The composer’s music is played during the long fermentation process, as it is believed music can ‘soothe the yeast and water particles’ to create a ‘better-tasting Tequila’.
9. Olmeca (including Altos)
% change: 3.6%
Place last year: 7
Olmeca Tequila (including Altos) rose by 3.6% last year, remaining just above the million-case threshold at 1.1m nine-litre cases.
The brand was relatively active in 2022, and unveiled a packaging redesign in February last year. The new look aimed to showcase the spirit’s fun side and attract a younger, party-going audience. In May last year, the brand also created the industry’s first virtual influencer, once again designed to connect with younger, legal-drinking-age consumers.
This was followed by an RTD (ready-to-drink) launch in November: Altos Margarita Classic Lime.
% change: 19.8%
Place last year: 8
Last year marked the third year of consecutive growth for Espolòn, which grew by almost a fifth (19.8%) to hit 1.3m cases. The growth allowed the Campari Group-owned brand to remain in the Brand Champions ranking, after it made its debut appearance the year prior.
The Tequila’s portfolio comprises five different expressions, all made from 100% Blue Weber Agave: Blanco, Reposado, Reposado Chardonnay, Añejo, and Cristalino.
7. El Jimador
% change: 21.4%
Place last year: 6
Brown-Forman reported the biggest volume increase for El Jimador Tequila since 2018 last year. Following a rather stagnant few years, El Jimador grew by more than a fifth (21.4%) to reach 1.7m cases.
If this newfound growth trajectory continues throughout 2023, there is every chance the Tequila brand could be seeing the 2m-case mark for the first time at the end of the year.
% change: 10.0%
Place last year: 5
A solid 10.0% sales increase in 2022 saw Hornitos Tequila pass the 2m-case mark for the first time to reach 2.1m. The double-digit growth marked consistent year-on-year increases for the Beam Suntory-owned brand, resulting in Hornitos being crowned Tequila Brand Champion.
The brand was able to grow throughout the pandemic in an increasingly competitive category – one that has become widely associated with celebrity-backed brands.
“While we have achieved overall growth across the portfolio, Hornitos Plata and Hornitos Reposado continue to be the driving force behind the brand’s success,” Rashidi Hodari, managing director for Tequila at Beam Suntory, told The Spirits Business in May.
5. 1800 Tequila
% change: 22.5%
Place last year: N/A
Proximo Spirits put a lot of love into growing 1800 Tequila last year, revealing a packaging redesign as part of a wider brand launch in July 2022. The revamp included a ‘language shift’ by calling out the category variant and Spanish language accents to highlight its authenticity.
Moves such as this helped the Tequila brand, which is owned by Proximo Spirits, to grow by more than a fifth last year – up by 22.5%. 1800 Tequila sold a total of 2.5m cases in 2022 – a million more than in 2018.
% change: 42.5%
Place last year: 4
George Clooney-founded and now Diageo-owned Casamigos Tequila continues to go from strength to strength. The 2022 Tequila Brand Champion and Supreme Brand Champion had another strong year in 2022, when its volume sales jumped up by 42.5% to 3.2m cases. It just goes to show the power of Diageo’s influence as the world’s leading spirits conglomerate.
Casamigos is now in line with our fourth-place Tequila, Don Julio, also owned by Diageo. If Casamigos continues to grow at such a rapid rate, it’s likely to overtake its stablemate by next year’s report.
In January this year, e-commerce platform Drizly named Casamigos as its top-performing, celebrity-backed spirit brand.
3. Don Julio
% change: 16.9%
Place last year: 3
Don Julio has more than doubled its volume sales since 2018, when it shifted 1.5m cases. Fast-forward to 2022, and the brand delivered strong double-digit growth (16.9%) to reach 3.2m cases last year.
As mentioned above, it will have to give a strong 2023 performance as Casamigos is hot on its heels – and showing little signs of slowing down. However, if Don Julio continues to entice consumers with new product development and limited edition launches, such as the second bottling of its extra añejo Ultima Reserva last November, there is everything to play for.
% change: 10.1%
Place last year: 2
Marketing efforts from Patrón appear to be paying off handsomely, as the brand enjoyed 10.1% volume growth last year to hit 3.5m cases. The Bacardi-owned Tequila brand holds the position of the world’s second-biggest-selling Tequila by volume – but with more than one brand hot on its heels, it will need to continue its effective marketing efforts throughout 2023 to retain its position.
In 2022, not only did the brand connect with the on-trade through its annual Patrón Perfectionists cocktail competition, but it also tapped into the advancement of the digital world by creating a virtual reality cocktail experience in Decentraland. Meanwhile, towards the end of 2022, the brand revealed its latest campaign – Our Hands – in tribute to the local artisans who contribute to the brand.
1. Jose Cuervo
% change: 15.9%
Place last year: 1
The undisputed Tequila category leader is Jose Cuervo, whose 15.9% growth resulted in the brand breaking through the 9m-case mark last year. Owned by Proximo Spirits, Jose Cuervo sold 9.2m cases in 2022.
The brand started last year by tapping into the resurgence of travel since the Covid-19 pandemic. The company’s owner, Proximo Spirits, created a 700-square-foot interactive retail space dedicated to premium Tequila in New York City’s JFK International Airport at the end of 2021.
Unless another Tequila brand is able to triple its sales in 2023, or Jose Cuervo suddenly sees a sales plummet, it’s unlikely that this Tequila titan will be moved from the top spot next year.
Looking for more information about the world’s biggest-selling spirits brands? Read The Brand Champions 2023 report.