Brands Report: American Whiskey

05 January, 2018

Diageo’s Bulleit holds both top spots for the third year running. Shay Waterworth reports

It's hats off to Diageo once again. Bulleit continues to enjoy dominance at the world’s best bars. The brand has completed the double again this year, taking the titles of both Best Selling and Top Trending American whiskey brand in our poll, with 20% of the vote in both categories. A further statement of intent came earlier this year as Diageo opened the Bulleit distillery in Kentucky.

Considering how crucial American whiskies are to the current cocktail scene – the Manhattan, Old Fashioned and Whiskey Sour all make our top 10 classics this year – it would be fair to assume that a Goliath brand such as Jim Beam would do well, if only for its distribution and volume capacity. This was the case in the early editions of the Brands Report, until Diageo stepped on the gas with Bulleit, which has held the top spot in both lists for the third year in a row.

Having said that, it looks like Jim Beam could be on the pathway towards a renaissance period. Having dropped off the list in 2017 the Kentucky giant has re-emerged sixth on the list of Best Selling brands.

Woodford Reserve leapfrogged Maker’s Mark in the best sellers, with 13% of bars saying it was their number one American whiskey. Buffalo Trace stays steady in fourth while Jack Daniel’s is down to ninth. Such a low ranking must be a worry for Brown-Forman – this iconic brand held the top spot from 2010-2012 and hasn’t ever sunk this low in the nine years we’ve been polling.

In terms of the Top Trending brands, not a lot has changed. Bulleit, Michter’s, Woodford Reserve and Maker’s Mark share 55% of the total votes for this category. Michter’s progression from Trending last year to Best Selling this year shows how on-trend brands gain sales traction.



The results of this report are the culmination of a questionnaire of 106 bars around the world, each cherry-picked to take part based on their performance in global bar awards. We aim to find out not only which brands sell best but also what’s trending. These two data sets give us an insight into the brands that are doing the most volume and the brands that are hot right now.

To read more on the methodology of the Brands Report click here.

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