This year the list is peppered with 100% agave brands that talk of terroir, single estates and tahona wheels. Now recognised selling points, these would have been confusion points in years gone by.
The trade seems utterly convinced by this wave of artisan tequila and this has dribbled down into interest among consumers – and actual sales.
Tequila finally is a spirit that has got to know the inside of consumers’ mouths, rather than just draining through.
Tomas Estes has done more than most to spread the word. The agave spirits ambassador and man behind Ocho has been at the forefront of educating the world on Mexico’s finest spirits and the results are here to see – not least with Ocho.
At Williams & Graham’s bar in Denver, which says it selects its spirits “based on the product not the brand name”, Ocho is the top selling tequila. Bramble in Edinburgh, A for Athens, Linje Tio in Stockholm and Ohla Boutique Bar in Barcelona also sell more Ocho than any other tequila.
Mixtos are having a harder time of it. With agave prices growing faster than agave, there is pressure on margins at the standard and premium end of the market.
Compounding this, the 100%-agave tequila trend is going mainstream leaving mixtos nibbled at both ends of the equation.
If we needed further proof of the direction of the tequila category, it is Diageo’s decision to estrange itself from mixto brand Jose Cuervo.
Though Cuervo is a mainstay of our Brands Report Best Sellers list, its 100% agave cousin, 1800, appears ahead of it in the Top Trending charts.
It’s probably too early to expect Diageo’s new super-premium Peligroso and Prestige-segment De León to make their mark in the Brands Report but its Don Julio goes from strength to strength.
A brand with heritage – unlike Diageo’s tequila acquisitions – it is now the spearhead of the group’s tequila ambition and has stated its intentions in this survey, being named the Top Trending tequila in 20% of our polled bars.
Olmeca, driven in the high-end on-trade by the Olmeca Altos sub-brand, has also sold well – Punch Room at The Edition Hotel is just one of 10 bars to name it the top seller.
It is joined by Calle 23 and Tapatio, which, despite their diminutive sizes, have shown impressively well in both lists. Fortaleza is about as small, traditional and hand-crafted as it gets in Tequila Town, so a fifth place in our Top Trending chart suggests word of its credentials is travelling.
HOW WE DID IT
We spoke to the World’s 50 Best Bars for this poll but in order to have a broader set of results we widened the net to include responses from a total of 100 of the top bars in the world - as voted for by our World's 50 Best Bars Academy.
We asked bar owners and head bartenders from these 100 top bars to name the Best Selling and Top Trending brands behind their bars. For more information about our methodology see here.
Day by day we will take you through the overall Best Selling and Top Trending spirits, and into the categories - from tequila, gin, vodka, rum, liqueurs, Scotch, World Whiskies, Brandy, aperitifs and digestifs, champagne, beer, water and tonic water to the best brands for cocktails.