The Global Spirits Industry Is Officially “Tumultuous”

A new report by The Spirits Business suggests a rather wide range of good and bad news for larger drinks brands

Several bottles of spirits
The global spirits industry is seeing some growing paints.

The spirits industry is going through a rather grand reckoning. But some of the biggest names in alcohol and a few surprise newcomers are showing real growth. That’s all according to The Brand Champions Report 2024, an annual release from the trade publication The Spirits Business that profiles million-case-selling spirits globally. “Overall, 2023 was tumultuous to say the least,” writes TSB’s Melita Keily in the introduction, noting the industry is considering that last year was a “reset” and is unsure of where the drinks market is headed.

That said, total volume sales of spirits did increase 1.4% from 2022. And some categories and brands are seeing positive movement (we should note that some companies refused to participate or provide date for the report, including Rémy Cointreau and Tito’s).

The World’s Best-Selling Spirits May Not Be Familiar to Americans
Indian whisky, soju and RTDs dominate the annual Brand Champions list

Here are some of the “brand champions” and standouts within the The Spirits Business annual survey:

  • While year-to-year sales declined 3.5%, the top-selling spirit globally by a wide margin continues to be Jinro, a soju made in South Korea.
  • American drinkers may only recognize two names on the top 10 list: White Claw (2nd) and Smirnoff (7th).
  • Four whiskies from India made the top 10 best-selling spirits list.
  • One of the biggest growth spurts occurred with Lunazul tequila, which saw 37.6% growth year-to-year.
  • Ready-to-drink (RTD) products continued to grow, buoyed by a strong debut by Jack Daniels & Coca-Cola and a surge of interest in The Finnish Long Drink. High Noon was crowned a “brand champion.”
  • The brands killing it on social media? According to the report, Hennessy, Jägermeister and Baileys excel at online engagement.
  • Whisk(e)y fans take note: the brand champions listed here include Sir Edward’s (Scotch), Jim Beam (American whiskey) and McDowell’s (Indian).

“If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s the unpredictability of global geopolitical and economic effects on the spirits industry,” Kiely concludes. “But also, it’s resilient nature.”


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