just-drinks, in association with The IWSR, presents this seven-part review of the Scotch whisky category. In part four, we turn our attention to the major Scotch brands.

Source: The IWSR

Diageo

The category's leading player, with 2014 sales volumes of more than 35m cases (a slight decline on 2013). Johnnie Walker accounts for more than half of that figure, despite a slight decline thanks to its exposure to emerging markets in 2014.

Americas-focused Buchanan's, meanwhile, is flying, adding 400,000 cases in 2014, while secondary brands Bell's, Black & White and White Horse are mainly employed to open up developing markets.

Pernod Ricard

A mixed performance here in 2014: overall, Pernod's Scotch volumes were roughly flat at just under 18m cases – about the same as in 2009. Ballantine's has mirrored that stagnant performance, while Chivas Regal has been in growth, but suffered recent declines in China and the US.

Value Scotch brand Passport has been a major success for the company in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, and The Glenlivet has become the world's best-selling single malt, overtaking Glenfiddich.

William Grant & Sons

The fortunes of Scotch's third biggest player echo those of the category: malts Glenfiddich and Balvenie continue to make positive returns, but core blend Grant's is still shedding sales.

Bacardi

Flagship blend Dewar's travails in the US and Spain have seen stablemate William Lawson's overtake it in volume terms, largely thanks to advances in Russia, France and Mexico. Malts are also an increasingly significant part of the mix.

Edrington

While The Famous Grouse has fared better than most blended Scotch brands, Edrington's strongest growth has come from malts: profit powerhouse Macallan and cult Orcadian distillery Highland Park.

Others

La Martiniquaise continues to try to spread the international appeal of Label 5, but it remains reliant on the fiercely competitive French market; Beam Suntory is focusing on its strong malt portfolio as Teacher's stages a slight recovery; Whyte & Mackay's eponymous blend traded well in 2014 despite the company's ownership turmoil.

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