Annual Report: US Whiskey Top 10

11 January, 2016

US whiskey is booming, but which brands have cracked it in the world's best bars? Here are our top 10s.



To think two years ago Bulleit was barely a global brand. Now look at her fly.

What’s even more staggering is that the Diageo whiskey is little more than a recipe – a good recipe, our polled bartenders think, but a recipe.

It is actually produced at Kirin’s Four Roses, but don’t worry pilgrims, the Bulleit distillery and brand home is coming. Hallelujah to that.

For now, Diageo will have to make do with having the fastest-growing bourbon brand around, and – not to be underplayed – the best-selling and top-trending American whiskey in our World’s 50 Best Bars poll. 

Last year Bulleit was in fifth, but now, with significant listings in almost half the 100 bars we polled – it has shot to first. 

Whoever’s holding the revolver has a mighty fine aim – it’s almost as if Diageo is targeting the best bars in the world.

Our poll says it has the top brand in gin, tequila, scotch, a share of the top vodka and cognac and now here, in our American whiskey category, it takes top spot too. 

We won’t list the 18 bars that named Bulleit their top-selling American whiskey, mainly because we have a word count to keep to, so let’s drop down to the old-timer (relative to Bulleit anyway), Maker’s Mark, which scored almost as highly. 

The Beam-Suntory whiskey was among the top three in its category in 40% of bars and the house pour in 15%.

Rittenhouse also performed well at the sharp end of the business last year with a third of bars putting it among their best sellers.

Bartenders need rye whiskey and Rittenhouse has built a reputation on the grain – The Jerry Thomas Project sells more of this stuff than any other whiskey. 

Woodford Reserve is used regularly at about a third of the bars we polled too, yet most seem to have it down as a second or third choice, in support of the house pour. 

Four Roses – which is the best seller at Berlin’s Buck & Breck – isn’t far behind, and neither are Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey.

As far as American whiskey is concerned, there’s a good spread around the best bars in the world, with everyone getting their piece of bartender pie.


The Best Selling list is based on bottles sold while the Top Trending list refers to on-trend brands that are being requested right now but are not necessarily sold in high volumes.

To find out more about how we carried out the survey and collated the results read How We Did It

Check out the other lists here: VodkaBrandyRumScotch, Bartenders' Choice.

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