Jinro still tops global spirits

Johnnie Walker scotch may be top dog in the value stakes but the world’s most valuable whisky only ranks an eighth place in IWSR’s Real 100 ranking of the largest global spirits brands by volume, moving up two places.

Jinro soju, the world’s largest spirit brand by volume, remains top of the list despite losing volumes in 2013.

Emperador brandy became the second-largest spirits brand in the world, growing volumes by nearly two million nine-litre cases while volumes of Thai spirit Ruang Kao slipped back. However the Emperador brand, whose owner recently acquired Whyte & Mackay, remains less than half the size of Jinro.

Eight of the top 10 brands are local super-giants, predominantly selling in their local markets, all of which are in the Asia-Pacific region.

The largest-growing brands on the Real 100 list are Indian whisky brands Officer’s Choice and McDowell’s, showing India’s growing thirst for Western-style spirits. Last year’s seventh-placed brand McDowell’s posted growth of four million cases, moving the brand to sixth place. Officer’s Choice surpassed this, growing by nearly 5.5 million cases to overtake McDowell’s and become the world’s largest whisk(e)y brand.

Johnnie Walker’s fortunes were also helped by healthy growth in India and South Africa, The brand was closely followed by Celebration rum, which also jumped up two places.

Johnnie Walker is one of nine Diageo brands on the Real 100 list, equalling USL’s nine brands which include Celebration rum and McDowell’s. Diageo’s acquisition of a controlling shareholding in USL in 2013 means that the combined entity has 18 brands on the list. Pernod Ricard has 11 brands on the list with Indian whisky Royal Stag ranking highest. Beam Suntory has five brands on the list after Suntory’s recent $16 billion acquisition of Beam Inc.

Thai Beverage now has two brands in the top 10 as Hong Tong ‘liquor’ moved up, showing 13% growth.

Bacardi fell from the top 10 as sales declined but it remains the highest-ranking of the four brands in the list for Bacardi-Martini.

With Bacardi’s departure from the top 10, only Smirnoff (in fourth place) and Johnnie Walker are recognisable international brands, showing the continued dominance of local super-brands. Sixty-three of the 100 brands on the list derive 90% or more of their sales from their domestic market.

The full Real 100 list was published exclusively in the July issue of the IWSR Magazine.

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