A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
Click here to download The Millionaires' Club 2012
Compiled by global research agency Euromonitor International and published by Drinks International, the supplement details the 2011 volume sales of 181 global spirits and liqueurs brands.
Topping this year’s list is the South Korean soju brand Jinro (61.4m 9-litre cases), which more than doubled the case sales of second place Smirnoff’s 24.7m cases last year.
On the coattails of Diageo’s vodka brand was Lotte Liquor, which grew 5.5% to achieve 23.9m cases, but the major mover was the world’s biggest brandy, Emperador, which more than doubled its volume from 9.6m cases to 20.1m cases during 2011.
Among the highlights of the list is the debut of Glenfiddich as a Millionaire brand. It becomes the first single malt to breach the million-case barrier.
Jeremy Cunnington, senior drinks analyst at Euromonitor International, said: ”The list continues to broaden and deepen its spread, with the first ever brand from Kazakhstan (Haoma) making an entrance, the first single malt (Glenfiddich) and for the first time we have gained an insight into the size and breadth of the Chinese baijiu market.”
“United Spirits suffered the loss of its position of having the world’s leading whisky brand when its Bagpiper brand was overtaken by its stablemate McDowell’s and, more importantly, Allied Blenders & Distillers’ Officer’s Choice brand.
Hamish Smith, The Millionaires’ Club supplement editor, said: “Jinro’s continued dominance of the global spirits industry is perhaps of no great surprise – the world’s other brands have over 35 million cases to catch up – but Emperador’s 109.4% growth was eminently impressive. Proof to the rest that even juggernaut brands can grow in triple digits.
“Of the newcomers to Millionaire status there’s been La Martiniquaise’s Poliakov vodka, which inched its way past the million-case mark, presumably in the very last knockings of 2011. Then you have Cîroc which, through P Diddy’s notoriety and Diageo’s know-how, managed to pole-vault nearly 50 of its competitors to debut at 132.
“Glenfiddich has become somewhat of an avant-garde figure among the 100 or so scotch distilleries that, up to now, might have resigned to thinking their place in life was in the narrow, not broad market.”
The Millionaires’ Club 2012 was published in print alongside the June edition of Drinks International magazine.