Non-Scotch Whisky Essentials 2016

Non-Scotch Whisky Essentials 2016

just-drinks, in association with The IWSR, presents this six-part review of the non-Scotch whisky category. In part four, we turn our attention to the major whisk(e)y brands.


While Brown-Forman owns a number of US whiskey brands - Woodford Reserve and Old Forester have been solid performers in recent years - Jack Daniel's remains the company's biggest success story. The Tennessee whiskey sold 13.7m cases in 2014, having added 3.5m cases since 2010 at a CAGR of +7.3%.

The US remains central to Jack's fortunes, but volumes now come from elsewhere too thanks to a broad international appeal from the UK to France, Germany and Travel Retail.

Brown-Forman has also successfully driven a premiumisation strategy, extending the Jack Daniel's franchise upwards with the likes of Single Barrel, Gentleman Jack and Sinatra Select.

Beam Suntory

Since Suntory's US$16bn takeover of Beam in early 2014, this company has become the leading player in Bourbon and Japanese whisky, as well as having a sizeable interest in Irish whiskey.

While Jim Beam lags behind Tennessee rival Jack Daniel's, sales expansion was impressive in the 2010-14 period, reaching 7.6m cases, partly thanks to double-digit growth in the US.

Maker's Mark sold 1.3m cases in the US alone in 2014, while the company continues to develop the former Cooley business in Ireland, and its Japanese whiskies surf the highball craze in their home market.


This New Orleans-based company now encompasses a range of Bourbons and Canadian whiskies, including Ten High, Buffalo Trace, Blanton's, George T Stagg and Col E H Taylor Jr. Supply has become an issue as demand for higher-value variants has soared.

But Sazerac has become best-known in the past few years for the success of Fireball, a cinnamon shot liqueur which, while not technically a whiskey, plays up its US whiskey content and has spawned a number of copycat products.

Heaven Hill

Heaven Hill's portfolio plays well into the current vogue for diverse mash bills and styles in American whiskey: Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Old Fitzgerald, Rittenhouse Rye and Bernheim Wheat.

Of these, Evan Williams is the flagship, closing in on the category top three in the US with sales of well over 2m cases.

Pernod Ricard

Jameson has now been growing sales for a quarter of a century, in the process keeping Irish whiskey afloat and spearheading its current strong growth. In 2014, the brand reached 4.8m cases, registering a CAGR of 11.4% between 2010 and 2014.

Pernod's Irish Distillers has also been developing high-value single Irish pot still whiskeys such as Redbreast, Green Spot and Yellow Spot.


Diageo is now belatedly reinvesting in the booming US whiskey category through Bulleit Bourbon and George Dickel in Tennessee, but these are still comfortably outsold by its Canadian whisky brand, Crown Royal.

Gruppo Campari has invested $100m-plus in Wild Turkey since buying the brand from Pernod Ricard; in the US, it is closing in on 1m cases, but it has declined in Australia and Japan.

William Grant & Sons continues to build Tullamore Dew, opening its new, EUR35m distillery in September 2014, and sales continued to rise in the US, Global Travel Retail and Russia in 2014.

Top 20 global brands & owners' retail values, 2009-2013 ('000s US$, '09-'13 CAGR)

RankBrand Owner vol 2009 vol 2010 vol 2011 vol 2012 vol 2013 ‘09-’13 % CAGR
1 Jack Daniel's Brown Forman 2,985,992.163,200,470.283,540,963.343,979,691.304,373,015.1710.01%
2 Jim Beam Beam Suntory 1,161,435.061,277,614.661,380,400.641,542,189.651,660,276.309.34%
3 Crown Royal Diageo 1,370,637.641,406,147.671,424,862.961,495,409.281,618,782.314.25%
4 Jameson Pernod Ricard 822,957.04955,079.341,113,562.841,259,475.131,455,667.8015.32%
5 McDowell's Whisky U. B. India 598,552.55731,851.74939,146.361,132,758.351,432,722.7624.38%
6 Officer's Choice ABD 444,145.80617,765.70791,067.45866,468.251,168,438.6427.36%
7 Royal Stag Pernod Ricard 487,309.60624,343.36832,000.13928,598.781,066,313.1821.62%
8 Suntory Whisky Beam Suntory 868,523.25997,777.70807,603.04825,655.10856,342.46-0.35%
9 Imperial Blue Pernod Ricard 233,589.50298,658.59379,864.15522,479.71670,877.8730.18%
10 Old Tavern U. B. India 230,087.38334,795.59454,022.69547,595.66554,680.7924.61%
11 Bagpiper U. B. India 598,225.05640,341.11691,531.14609,223.94551,604.25-2.01%
12 Blender's Pride Pernod Ricard 216,705.34297,685.78370,445.70475,855.28539,205.6425.59%
13 Original Choice Indian Whisky John Distillers 335,164.72391,271.59440,898.28444,999.66513,185.0911.24%
14 Jagatjit Aristocrat Whisky Jagatjit 285,763.60309,654.14421,416.73443,051.50512,467.3515.72%
15 Canadian Club Whisky Beam Suntory 426,997.78438,537.89427,640.14431,834.73443,812.140.97%
16 Makers Mark Beam Suntory 265,487.34319,021.99360,335.43403,491.31440,581.4713.50%
17 Wild Turkey Bourbon Campari 296,656.75310,009.03340,414.05373,921.05412,624.048.60%
18 Seagram's 7 Crown Diageo 386,760.23369,253.81359,297.11366,991.68353,893.73-2.20%
19 Director's Special Indian Whisky U. B. India 246,789.38317,775.51340,293.17329,970.46330,388.577.57%
20 Nikka Whisky Asahi 260,072.98332,963.14349,168.02306,201.73329,298.966.08%

Source: The IWSR

To continue to part V of the report, click here.

For the just-drinks Non-Scotch Whisky Essentials content page, click here

All data has been sourced from just-drinks' joint report with The IWSR, Non-Global Scotch Whisky Insights.