International spirits brands upped their dominance of the travel retail channel last, according to recent research.

In its annual 'Top-50 Travel Retail Brands 'and 'Top-25 Largest Growth Brands in Travel Retail' lists, released this week, the IWSR claims that spirits brands in the top 50 accounted for 73.6% of the market, up from 70.4% in 2004.

Scotch whisky had the largest number of brands of any category in the Top-50 list, at 11. Flavoured spirits was next at nine, followed by vodka at eight.

Pernod Ricard had the largest number of brands on this year’s Top-50 list with 11, despite priority brands such as Absolut and Chivas Regal posting big declines in the face of a global downturn in travel and passenger spending. Diageo boasts the next-highest total of brands in the Top-50 at nine. Its Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky brand is the global leader of the travel retail market; a high-spending promotional programme helped it outperform the market in 2009.

LVMH’s Hennessy Cognac was the only brand in the top-20 to gain, rising by 5.1% last year. The brand benefited from an easing of supply constraints and its strong presence in Asia, which was less seriously affected by the global recession than other regions.

The most significant newcomer to the Top-50 ranking is Russian Standard vodka, which grew by 15.6% to enter the list at number 34. Russian Standard was also the third-largest brand on the IWSR’s Top-25 Largest Growth brands in Travel Retail list.

Only six brands on the IWSR’s Top-25 Largest Growth brands in Travel Retail list – Cruzan and Zacapa plus vodka brands Russian Standard and Nemiroff, Hennessy and Edrington’s The Macallan Scotch – posted gains of more than 10,000 cases, reflecting the difficult state of the market last year.

The number of rum brands making the Growth Brands list is perhaps the most significant feature. Six out of the Top-25 Growth Brands were rums, including Cruzan and Ron Zacapa, which rank first and second in the Top-25 list.

Beam Global’s Cruzan doubled sales in 2009 to more than 100,000 cases, following its acquisition of the brand from Pernod Ricard in November 2008, and is also a new entrant to the Top-50 Brands list.

Only four brands – Diageo’s Captain Morgan, LVMH’s Hennessy Cognac and Belvedere vodka and Bacardi’s Grey Goose vodka – also featured in last year’s Growth Brands list.

To download the IWSR lists, click here.