DI Annual Bar Report: Mezcal

23 January, 2017

Hamish Smith finds brands’ compelling stories are what attract bartenders

We asked bartenders about their best selling mezcal. They said, in their droves, del maguey. We could have guessed – del maguey was the overall bartender’s choice in 2015 and second in 2016.

Ron cooper’s brand is no longer niche – it has responded to the bartender clamour with an ever-growing distribution. Well over half the bars that took part in this poll said it was their best selling mezcal.

Yet, despite this growth, it retains its values – single estate, sustainable practices, fair wages for farmers. This is a mezcal that delivers what it did all those years ago, although nowadays on time – cooper doesn’t have to rely on fedex.

Ilegal mezcal, along with alipus, is well ahead of the other brands in this list. Like del maguey, ilegal mezcal has a compelling story of struggling and smuggling to get its wares to market.

No longer do producers struggle – there are now in the region of 400 mezcal brands in existence. Still, expect del maguey to dominate this list for some time.



The Drinks International Annual Bar Report looks to gauge the buying habits of the best bars in the world by conducting a survey of their owners, head bartenders and bar managers.

The bars that took part – what we refer to as the best bars in the world – are a sample of 108 bars that finished in the top 250 places of the World’s 50 Best Bars survey, now owned by William Reed Business Media. Given the depth and scope of The World’s 50 Best Bars poll (voted for by 476 global bar experts) we feel this is the most credible place to source our sample of bars.

In each instance we asked the bartender to rank their three best selling products in each category, giving us an indication of the brands that are selling best.

As we know, a best selling brand, even in the best bars in the world, earns its place on more than taste, so we also wanted to know the brands that are not necessarily doing huge volumes but have cool-appeal right now. This is where the Trending brands come in. These are the brands customers are increasingly asking for, perhaps because of word of mouth, or even on bartenders’ recommendations.

For more on the methodology see How we did it

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Tess Posthumus

Talking the challenges of cocktail weeks

Having recently returned from the US visiting both Oakland and Arizona Cocktail Weeks I was amazed by the differences in approach. In Oakland there was a much bigger trade focus and it felt more relaxed, whereas in Arizona it was one massive party for consumers.