Nemiroff gets the IWSR bragging rights for 2009

Nemiroff gets the IWSR bragging rights for 2009

Nemiroff vodka has topped the latest list of elite spirits brands issued annually by research group IWSR.

Nemiroff's consistently strong volume growth in its native Ukraine and neighbouring Russia saw it lead the 2009 'Elite Brands' list, published by IWSR this week. The vodka, which finished fifth last year, has grown volumes sales by an average 5.1% annually between 2004 and 2009 to reach almost 8.85m nine-litre cases.

This year's Elite Brands list is as notable for its absentees as its new champions. Smirnoff, the previous number one, and Aboslut have both fallen out of favour following a tough time in the economic downturn.

To make the list, wine and spirits brands must have shown an average annual growth rate of at least 5% over the last five years. They must also sell at least 40% of their total volumes outside of their main market.

Jägermeister, a consistent high performer on the list, rose from sixth in 2008 to second in 2009. It has grown volumes by 8% annually since 2004.    

Pernod Ricard's Havana Club rum finished third, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4%. Pernod was the only company to have two brands inside the top ten, with Jameson Irish whiskey taking fifth spot on the same CAGR as Havana Club.

The only Scotch whiskies inside the top ten were Diageo's Buchanan's and Bacardi-Martini's William Lawson, in ninth and eighth places respectively.

French company Belevedere has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, but its Sobieski vodka rose to sixth from 14th on the 2009 list. It had volumes of 2.7m cases last year and a CAGR of 13.3%. Vodka dominated the top ten, with Brown-Forman's Finlandia taking fourth place and Russian Standard a new entrant in seventh with a CAGR of 12%.

Family-owned Barcelo rum brought up the rear, having risen from 22nd in 2008 to tenth place in 2009 on a CAGR of 16.4%. It has more than doubled volumes since 2004, to 1.2m cases.