World's 50 Best Bars Brands Report: Brandy

17 January, 2013

On day five of the Brands Report, a spin-off survey from The World's 50 Best Bars, we turn to brandy. So is it cognac, armagnac, or brandies from Spain, South Africa and the US that are selling best in the world's best bars?

The Big Four still dominate the cognac and brandy list: Hennessy, Rémy Martin, Martell and Courvoisier. It’s interesting to note that Torres and Cardinal Mendoza are actually the only brandies on the list – everything else is a cognac. 

The Big Four are not short of marketing ideas when it comes to romancing bartenders and consumers and persuading them of the quality of their products. 

Courvoisier has been championing the punch for a while and Hennessy recently encouraged bartenders to try its products with tea – no doubt a nod to drinking rituals in the Far East. 

Pierre Ferrand has broken up the Big Four in the Trending list and this is probably due to its forward-thinking nature when it comes to cocktails. The brand has long aligned itself to mixed drinks, while some brandies have remained stubborn in the face of mixing their products. 

The website boasts a good number of Brandy Crusta recipes – some invented by bartending royalty such as Julie Reiner from New York’s Clover Club. Pierre Ferrand Original Formula 1840 was also awarded Best New Product at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. 

It’s good to see Hine hanging on at the bottom of the trending list and interesting to note that it was H that pleased consumers’ palates in the best-selling list. 

H is a blend of 20 cognacs aged for at least four years. The company also flags up its mixability and that it makes a “perfect base for many cocktails”. 

Torres takes a more traditional approach with the words: “After a meal comes the moment of rest, relaxation and reminiscences. This is the moment for a brandy, the moment for a sensual, relaxed and generous beverage.”  

As you might expect from a famous wine producer, the talk around Torres centres on grape varieties and taste profiles. 

Cardinal Mendoza is also Spanish and has attracted a sort of cult following. It is solera-aged in ex-Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks in Jerez. 

Overall then, cognac rules the roost when it comes to trends and best-sellers. Could this be down to its age-old reputation or its modern take on inclusion in cocktails? 

We would wager that it’s a bit of both. 

How we did it

Since we relaunched the World’s 50 Best Bars, we think we’ve built up a pretty fantastic list of top bars and phenomenal bartenders from all over the world.

To create an even better global picture, we also polled 100 of the top 200 bars. When I say ‘we’, it was actually an independent research company called Leslie Henry Marketing & Research.

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