The world’s biggest spirits brands 2012

Do you know which the world’s biggest selling spirit is? It is probably not at all what you think!

There is actually quite a lot of myths around which is the world’s biggest selling spirits brands. One reliable source for information is IWSR (International Wine and Spirits Research). They have recently published their Top 100 Spirits Brands in the IWSR Magazine. I have not seen the magazine, only the press release that in itself is very interesting.

According to IWSR the global spirits market grew with 1.6% in 2012 to reach 3.3 billion nine litre cases (that’s the measure that is usually used). 3.3 bn cases of twelve bottles of 0.75 litres adds up to almost 30 billion litres of spirits. Of the total the top 100 spirits brands account for 25% of global spirits consumption: 808 million cases.

Less concentration and more diversity than what I would have guessed. The spirits market is perhaps not so concentrated after all…?

What’s your guess? Which are the biggest sellers?

Read the answer below! (But make your guess first!)

Karlsson vodka

Karlsson vodka, copyright BKWine Photography

So, here are the world’s biggest selling spirits brands, as per the IWSR numbers:

  1. Jinro Soju, Hite Brewery, 67 million cases (mc) (shochu/soju)
  2. Ruang Kao, Thai Beverage, 31.5 mc, (other spirits)
  3. Emberador Philippine, consolidated Distillers Philippines, 30 mc (other brandy)
  4. Smirnoff, Diageo, 25.9 mc (vodka)
  5. Chum Churum, Lotte, 21.3 mc (shochu/soju)
  6. Cachaça 51, Müller de Bebidas, 20 mc (cane spirit)
  7. McDowell’s, UB India, 19.3 mc (other whisky)
  8. Officer’s Choice, ABD (India), 18.6 mc (other whisky)
  9. Bacardi, Bacardi-Martini, 18.3 mc (rum)
  10. Johnnie Walker, Diageo, 18 mc (Scotch whisky)

Jack Daniel’s comes in at nr 18 with 12.1 mc, Absolut vodka is nr 20 with 11.3 mc, Captain Morgan rum is 24 with 9.9 mc. Not many of the famous international brands on that list!

Shochu / soju is a South Korean spirit that is not sold much in other parts of the world. Ruan Kao is a Thai spirit. There is a solid dominance of “local” brands among the top seller. IWSR points out that the top ten brands sell 95% of the volume on the local home market!

The international spirits companies have, on the other hand, several different brands in their portfolios: Diageo has nine brands on the top 100 list and Pernod Ricard has 12 on the 100 list.

So, how many did you pin in your guess of the Top Ten list?

This post is also available in: Swedish

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