Brands Report 2023: Bartender’s Choice

04 January, 2023

An old-school gin tops this list, which singles out the brands most loved by those behind the stick.

We kick off the Brands Report with Bartenders’ Choice – in essence, our answer to the question: what are bartenders’ favourite brands? So here, unlike the lists that follow, we haven’t asked bartenders about what’s selling best, nor what’s trending among consumers, only the brands they have a so­ spot for. The answer, half the time at least, is Tanqueray.

In seven of the 14 years we’ve asked bartenders about their favourite spirit, they’ve said Tanqueray. It says something of the bar trade that, among the frenzied growth of the craft­ gin category, it’s an old juniper-led London Dry that they love most. To paraphrase them, Tanqueray bangs – in taste and price. Nineteen per cent of bars polled said Tanqueray was among their top-three favourite spirits.

Michter’s has been runner-up twice in the past three years and stands the best chance of toppling Tanq. The brand has long engaged with the bar community who, in turn, seem to appreciate the bourbon and rye maker’s dedication to quality – even if that means more expensive whiskey. Seventeen per cent of our sample said Michter’s was among their favourites.

In third we have a tequila – Ocho. Still echoing its co-creator’s philosophies of single estate terroir-driven tequila, Ocho may now be owned by Heaven Hill but remains the late Tomas Estes’ living legacy. And even if Don Julio, Patrón and Olmeca Altos outsell it in the world’s best bars, when it comes to the one bartenders love, it’s Ocho.

Plantation, in fourth, is the rum brand of bartenders’ affectation – 11% of our panel named it among their top three – although it’s hard not to notice the emergence of an underlying trend. Plantation was top of this list from 2019-2021, second last year and now fourth. The brand has loyal fans, but also its detractors, not least those who are frustrated by the protracted name change. Bitter liqueur Campari comes in fifth and, though a big brand, is very much a bartender brand too. The bottom five is very close in votes. All are big brands and no strangers to this list. Perhaps most saliently, three are gins, underlining the fact that gin is still in.

How we did it

The Annual Brands Report results are the culmination of a survey of 100 bars from 33 countries around the world which have been nominated or won international awards. The report offers a picture of the buying habits of the world’s best bars – not only which brands sell best, but also what’s trending to indicate the brands that are hot right now.

To view the page-turner edition of the Brands Report click here.

The Brands Report will be serialised on throughout January.

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