Johnnie Walker usurped as whisky's no.1

11 April, 2013

Johnnie Walker’s has been knocked from the apex of the whisky category after United Spirits’ aptly named McDowell’s No.1 sold more bottles in 2012, according to The Millionaires’ Club 2013.

Despite sales volumes of Diageo’s flagship Scotch climbing 5% last year to 18.8m 9-litre cases, its Indian adversary – and soon-to-be stable mate - reached 19.5m cases, piling on 21% growth.

It is the first time Johnnie Walker has not been the world’s no.1 selling whisky since at least 2002, and probably going back much further.

A spokesperson for Intellima, the research agency that compiled The Millionaires’ Club 2013, said: “The upper reaches of the whisky sector remain a battle between two seemingly unstoppable forces – the global might of Johnnie Walker and the domestic market-driven volume increases of Indian brands selling to a growing moneyed middle class. But now Johnnie Walker has been knocked off its perch by United Spirits’ McDowell’s No 1.”

If growth rates remain constant through 2013, Johnnie Walker could find itself leapfrogged by Allied Blenders & Distillers’ Officer’s Choice by the time The Millionaires’ Club 2014 is published.

Officer’s Choice, another Indian brand, grew 10% last year, registering volumes of 18.1m cases. The brand has grown an average of 22% annually over the last six years.

The overall picture is one of Indian whisky dominance with eight of the world’s top ten whiskies based in India.

Jack Daniel’s headed up the North American contingent, ranking eighth with volumes of 10.7m cases and growth of 1%.

Intellima said: “US whiskey Jack Daniel’s is the only gatecrasher in the top 10 party but a relatively flat performance did little to enhance its volume standing this year, though Brown-Forman has reported a healthy rise in brand revenues after its first global price increase for several years.”

Jim Beam was in 11th place with volumes of 6.3m cases and 8% growth, while Diageo’s Canadian whisky Crown Royal finished 13th with volumes of 4.8m cases and 2% negative growth.

The 2013 edition of The Millionaires' Club will be available to download in May from

To download the 2012 edition click here.

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