Forty-six of the world’s 100 largest brands hail from the Asia-Pacific region, a development underpinned by growing economies across the region and their vast population bases.
Jinro soju from South Korea, owned by Hite Brewery, remains the undisputed number one global spirits brand. Less than five per cent of its volumes come from exports. Jinro sells double the volumes of runner-up Ruang Kao, a molasses-based product from Thailand.
The great majority of brands in The Real 100 list are local brands (selling chiefly in one market) and often low-priced. Yet there are also a number of international brands on the list.
Diageo-owned Smirnoff vodka is the third-largest global brand and the top international product on the list. Other international brands featuring high on the list include Bacardi rum (ranked fifth) and Pernod Ricard’s Absolut vodka (19th).
This year’s Real 100 is dominated by vodka and shochu/soju (sold chiefly in Korea and Japan), both represented by 18 brands in the rankings.
Other whiskies contribute 15 brands. The largest of these is India’s market-leader Bagpiper, followed by McDowell’s whisky, both owned by UB India. Thirteen of the 15 other whiskies on the list are Indian, again highlighting the dynamic growth of spirits brands within the emerging markets in Asia and India in particular.
IWSR Chairman Val Smith commented, “Rising prosperity and more disposable income are the main reasons for the growth rates of so many Asian brands and particularly the marked growth of so many Indian whisky brands and the top brandy and rum brands. The banning of country liquor in the southern Indian states boosted the sales of the cheapest IMFL brandies as much produce was simply relabelled.
“Having more cash to spend means the consumer buys better, slightly more expensive local products. The price of these Indian and other Asian staples are still low by world standards and so upgrading is easily affordable.”