Annual Report: How We Did It

04 January, 2016

The World's 50 Best Bars Annual Report 2016 has launched. This article explains how we carried out the survey and collated the results.


FIRST THINGS FIRST, we should say that the World’s 50 Best Bars Annual Report is the new name for the Brands Report and the Cocktail Report combined.

We figured this body of research could be presented in a singular report every January, denoting a full stop, not a comma, to industry’s year of business. 

We’re pleased to say that 28 of The World’s 50 Best Bars took part in this survey. Not a bad return, given there’s no prize at the end – except this invaluable report, of course.

But we didn’t stop there. The top 50 are the inner circle, but our Academy vouched for 542 bars in total last year.

Of these we contacted the top-ranked 250, widening the pool to gain greater global insight and reduce the risk of anomalous results.

In total we gathered 100 completed questionnaires, which we feel an accurate representation of the best bars in the world.

You’ll see below a list of all the Top 50 bars that took part and those that have featured in previous lists. Plus a breakdown of the rest of the respondents by ranking and geography to your right.

This year we heard from bars from 28 cities in 15 countries and six regions.

Europe – as a continent of 50 countries and a powerhouse of the bar industry – made up the largest share, but we have strong representation from North America, Asia and Latin America, and a sprinkling of bars from Australasia and Africa & Middle East.

This distribution is consistent with the geographical mix of bars at the top end of the business, as evidenced by our World’s 50 Best Bars poll. 

We asked bars’ owners and head bartenders to rank their top three best-selling brands in each category.

In previous years we have only asked for the number one best seller, but in learning the top three, we are able to get a better picture of sales. 

The best-selling spirits, liqueurs, champagne, beer or water can be measured in bottles used, which provides the most tangible insight into the consuming habits in elite bars. 

But, as we know, a best-selling brand, even in the best bars in the world, earns its place on more than taste.

The best bartenders won’t serve any old hooch but they are also running a business. So we too wanted to know the brands that are not necessarily doing huge volumes but have cool-appeal right now.

So the trending lists – to borrow from Twitter parlance – are made up of brands customers are increasingly asking for. 

These could be offering innovation, or might have benefited from a clever marketing ploy. It could be down to word of mouth, or maybe a bartender’s recommendation.

It’s possible that trending brands also feature as best sellers in a given category.

But more likely, they are smaller operators that aren’t the hulking front men of large portfolios and have become on-trend in spite of an inferior inability to incentivise. 

We have also collated cross-category top 10s. Bartenders’ Choice is one for the purists as it is untouched by the meddling hand of profitability or the whim of consumer trend. 

It’s here we see what bartenders themselves prize most. We also have an overall Best-Selling Brands and overall Top Trending lists, which too pit brands across the spirits spectrum, rather than category by category. 

Independent, unsponsored, impartial and compiled using a robust methodology, we feel this is the sort of research that makes the drinks industry a better-informed place. 

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