Brands Report 2023: World Whiskies

05 January, 2023

Japanese brands take the big plaudits, with Nikka toppling Suntory a year after the reverse happened.

Nikka returns to the top of the pile a year a­fter Suntory ended its countrymate’s six-year streak. The two titans of Japanese whisky have long held a duopoly at the head of the Brands Report world whiskies rankings and that doesn’t look like it’s about to change, with Nikka and Suntory accounting for nearly two-thirds of all the category’s house pours.

It was as a house pour that the Asahi-owned Nikka edged out its rival. The much-loved From the Barrel continues to be a bar favourite also, while Nikka Days, which blends spirits from the Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries, has proven to be a more GP-friendly addition to the portfolio. Nikka also finished top of our Trending list, a sign that it’s the hot, as well as bestselling, brand in this category.

Yamazakura and Akashi take the Japanese tally to four, going to show how important the east Asian island nation continues to be to the world whiskies category. Akashi returns to the list a­fter two years of absence and, following the brand’s securing of UK distribution, it’ll be one to watch next year.

Elsewhere, Kavalan returns to the podium a­fter being named World Whisky Producer of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge. The brand was a house pour in only about 2% of our polled bars but took the bronze as a popular second and third choice.

Despite Canadian Club’s ‑ five-place drop in the leaderboard, this year has proven to be a strong showing from the Great White North, with four brands making the cut if you include the dual-nationality Whistlepig which this year released a swathe of new expressions, including a six-year-old rye, a 100-proof bourbon and a zero-alcohol, 100% rye non-whiskey. Indian single malt brand Amrut completes the table, making it three years on the bounce for the Bangalore-based brand.

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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