johnnie walker brands report

Brands Report 2021: Scotch whisky

05 January, 2021

Scotch leader Johnnie Walker made it 11 wins from 12 this year, with another dominant display. No matter where you are among the world’s top bars, this is the scotch you’re most likely to see behind the stick, according to our poll.

It was the house scotch in just under a quarter of cases and among the top three in more than a third. Through its spectrum of styles – from peat-forward to more subtle blends – this brand is the international benchmark for blended scotch.

Monkey Shoulder is that protagonist for the blended malt sub category. If ever there was a scotch designed for bartenders it is this – smooth and packing bang for buck, it’s a go-to for scotch cocktails. A quarter of bars said it was among their top-three drams and it’s got cool credentials too – it was second this year on our trending list. To continue the theme, The Macallan is the star of the single malts in the high-end bar. It’s been that way for a while, with consistent top-half performances in what used to be a list dominated by blends. Its-top-of-the-pile finish in our trending list for a second year running shows that, while it might not be the go-to for cocktails, it is very much a brand call.

Dewar’s is up one into fourth thanks to continued support in the sector by its owner Bacardi, maintaining a mini revival for the brand, which has been slowly climbing the rankings. The same could be said for William Grant’s Balvenie which, a er appearing in ninth last year, has made ground, jumping Chivas Regal. The old Perond Ricard-owned scotch blend seems to have lost some of its shine in the bar sector – a decade ago it was mixing it near the summit with Walker. Completing the top 10 are four single malts – Glenfiddich, plus the peated trio of Laphroaig, Talisker and Ardbeg. These smoke bombs weren’t likely to be used as soloist spirits in cocktails, poured from the speed rail, but are important for back-bar harmony.



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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