A global survey of 100 of the world’s best bars by Drinks International offers insight into the whiskies trending at the elite end of the on-premise trade.
Respondents – bar owners, bar managers and head bartenders – were asked to rank their three best-selling products in each category of spirits (plus wine and beer), offering insight into the brands that are selling best. The Trending lists offer an indication of the brands that are hot right now.
The Brands Report revealed the top trending Scotch, American, Irish and World whiskies for the year: Johnnie Walker, Michter’s, Jameson and Nikka.
Hamish Smith, editor of the Brands Report, said: “If 2021 wasn’t the recovery year we’d hoped for, it was a marked improvement on 2020. In the majority of major markets, we saw the lockdown of bars as a last, rather than first resort, and other restrictions – curfews, alcohol restrictions and distancing – became less and less defining interventions as the year grew old. It wasn’t uninterrupted trading by any stretch, but bars were doing business in most markets in 2021, most of the time.
“The question this report seeks to answer, is how bars’ – and by corollary consumers’ – buying decisions changed? If our report is anything to go by, social and economic volatility has created no revolution among bar brands; those that pass through the pages of the Brands Report 2021 are in the most part, much the same as they were in peace time. But around the edges and in the details, there has been an evolution, with gains and losses across all our lists.”
“In terms of the top trending scotch whisky brands, Bruichladdich has crept on to the list while Johnnie Walker looks set to continue its dominance in 2022 as it rides high on both our rankings,” Drinks International noted.
“The most likely brand to upset the rather settled bestselling list next year is blended scotch Compass Box, which sits fourth in the trending list. Meanwhile, Highland single malt Glenmorangie, which narrowly missed out on the bestselling list, is a possibility for next year given its introduction to the trending ranks and a ramp up from LVMH in its on-trade activations.”
When it comes to American whiskey, Michter’s cult following put it in first place among the global bar industry.
“The Kentucky brand is a big supporter of the trade and, given the popularity of its 10-year-old-plus expressions it’s no wonder Michter’s sits atop the trending list for successive years,” Drinks International said.
As for Irish whiskey, Drinks International said the “continued dominance of the Middleton Distillery’s flagship brand Jameson sees it named a top-three pour in 79% of the World’s Best Bars”.
“Having shifted nearly 8 million 9-litre cases in 2020, it outsells the second biggest volume brand, Tullamore Dew, more than six times over, and with the extensive marketing and distribution power of Pernod Ricard it’s no wonder the popular whiskey appears in all the major bars around the world,” Drinks International added.
“Looking to the future, Jameson’s position atop the trending list suggests the Midleton brand will be strong as ever in 2023 with Redbreast establishing itself as a clear second option. A return to form for Teeling next year is also a probability rather than a possibility given its third-place finish in the trending list and a host of interesting products lined up to hit the market.”
In the world whiskies category, while Suntory ended Nikka’s six-year reign as the most popular world whisky in the Brands Report, Nikka came out on top in the Trending category.
While Australian whisky didn’t appear on the trending list, Melbourne’s Starward Whisky came in at No.10 on the Bestselling Brands list.
David Vitale (above), founder of Starward Whisky, said: “Well, I’m absolutely humbled, stoked but mostly grateful. Global Top 10 best selling world whisky. It’s very humbling to see a brand you created amongst this list.
“I’m so excited for our team in Australia, US and UK. It’s a result of their hard work, dedication and most importantly belief that we have achieved this. The best is yet to come.
“To everyone out there who has an idea, dream big. It might just be possible. This is proof that all you need to do is find people crazy enough to believe it’s possible too and fuel that fire to make your dream a reality.
“And to everyone who has contributed big or small, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Pictured main: The Doss House, 77/79 George St, The Rocks NSW.