Brands Report: All-Time Leagues

31 January, 2018


An illustration of the slow-burning nature of the all-time leagues is that Bulleit has been the no.1 American whiskey in our poll from 2016-2018 but has no place in the all-time top three. Instead the ever-present and ever-consistent Maker’s Mark tops the chart. Each year from 2010-2018, the brand has been among the top four American whiskey brands in the world’s best bars. Jack Daniel’s was the pace-setter early on, with three top spots and two seconds, but is now falling behind after four indifferent years. Woodford Reserve, which didn’t get going in our poll until 2013, has accrued enough ranking points to fend off Bulleit for the next couple of years.


The duopoly of Bacardí and Havana Club has been broken by Plantation in each of the past two years but it will take some time before this year’s rum champ leaves a mark on the all-time league. Bacardí and Havana Club took turns to be the rum leader for the first seven years of the poll, but now compete for second and third. Runner up status was enough for Bacardí to

edge ahead of the Cuban brand this year – 84 points to 83. Meanwhile, Ron Zacapa has the same ranking points as Appleton but makes the podium on tie-breaker – this year’s performance was fourth to Appleton’s seventh. Plantation, with back-to-back first spots in the rum category, is now up to fifth in the All-time league.


Diageo’s Don Julio may seem a fixture at the top of this list, but it has only this year displaced Jose Cuervo, which dominated the tequila charts for the first four years of this poll. It’s almost as if Diageo cutting its ties with the brand and concentrating on Don Julio made a difference…

Jose Cuervo looks like it will continue its slide, posting middling rankings in recent years. Some day soon it could be replaced by Calle 23, which is just ahead of a tightly packed group consisting of Patrón, Olmeca and Ocho.


Classic brands do well in the All-time lists – no more so than in the liqueurs charts. Cointreau in first place is a back-bar staple and a consistent performer in the liqueurs category – it hasn’t finished worse than fourth in nine years. Chartreuse, meanwhile, has finished second in each of the past four years and climbs into the top three for the first time at the expense of Bailey’s, which was a favourite of the early years. St-Germain, in comparison the upstart, maintains its place in third. So where is Campari? It’s been the top liqueur from 2016-2018 but was very much out of favour at the start of the decade.


Nine years of number one spots have seen Hennessy achieve a perfect points tally. The LVMH brand (part-owned by Diageo) is clearly the choice in the world’s best bars, despite some competition from Rémy Martin, Martell and, more recently, Pierre Ferrand. With Courvoisier and Pierre Ferrand a way back in fourth and fifth, this top three is unlikely to change in the coming years.


Heineken didn’t win the beer stakes this year – that was Peroni – but its nine-year run has seen it collect enough points to hang on to the top spot in the All-time list. Peroni may have taken the bragging rights this year but it will need to put a run together if it has designs at the summit. Asahi, another bar-centric beer, remains in third, a little ahead of Corona in fourth.


Moët & Chandon and Perrier Jouët continue their tussle for the hall of fame top spot, finishing on 57 points apiece. We gave the nod this year to Perrier Jouët because of a stronger 2018 ranking, though next year it could easily swing the other way. In third is Veuve Clicquot, which neither looks like breaking the duopoly or ceding its place to Mumm.


San Pellegrino has the perfect five out of five and thus it looks safe to call it the bartenders’ water brand. Perrier drives a wedge between it and stablemate Acqua Pana in third, while Evian looks too far back to make a dent in the top three next year.


In the four years we’ve been asking bartenders about tonic water, the answer has been Fever-Tree first and Schweppes second. Fentiman’s is normally the third most-stocked but not this year – East Imperial took that title. Regardless, the all-time pecking order remains Fever-Tree, Schweppes and Fentiman’s.

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


Nick Strangeway

Bar food's blurred lines

Once upon a time pubs and bars were somewhere you went with the sole purpose of getting pissed and there wasn’t a knife and fork in sight, just a packet of dry roasted nuts.