plantation rum michters tanqueray brands report

Brands Report 2021: Bartenders' Choice

06 January, 2021

If the other lists in this report speak of the bestselling and the trending brands in the world of elite bars, this ranking is different. Here we ask about bartenders’ favourite spirits.

That’s across category – no holds barred. It takes some achievement then, that in the past three years one brand has risen above the thousands around the world. Take a bow Plantation – more than a third of respondents said it was in their top three favourites. While other sectors might prize luxury and all the branding and packaging trimmings, in the bar world, it’s about taste and Plantation’s family of expressions: 3 Star, Pineapple, OFTD and single island rums make a compelling and diverse collective. This year the brand’s owner, Maison Ferrand, got ahead of potential rumblings over its name (specifically the word plantation’s links to slavery) by promising a rebrand. It showed leadership and garnered support in a sector in which the Black Lives Matter movement was a defining moment in 2020.

In second, we see Michter’s – the family-owned Amercian whiskey brand, which has made great strides in recent years. Led by its No.1 Straight Whiskey line and backed by an entourage of high-end bourbons and ryes, this family of expressions is beloved by the trade. Michter’s collaborated with 50 Best to raise money for ailing hospitality businesses in 2020, which won’t have escaped bartender attention. So bartenders love not just the juice, but the people who produce and sell it too. One in five bartenders polled put Michter’s in their top three.

Diageo’s Tanqueray hasn’t been outside the top two since 2012 but, in third, still makes the podium for 2021. It is the quintessential London Dry gin – a bartender who doesn’t like Tanqueray is a collector’s item. Del Maguey, the trailblazer for international mezcal sales, is a brand that swings two ways – the Vida is for slinging, it’s Single Village for sipping. Founder Ron Cooper is a legend of the industry, and so is his friend Tomas Estes, whose Ocho comes in fifth. A pioneer of the notion of terroir in tequila, Ocho is authentic 100% agave tequila, hand-sold by Estes’ son Jesse and all at very affordable prices.

Bacardi, always invested in the bar trade and none more so than this year when the company supported the trade’s fightback from the pandemic, reappears in sixth this year, while Pernod’s cult German gin Monkey 47 makes it four years in a row in the list. Italian classic Campari is an evergreen friend to the cocktail bartender and the same could be said of Diageo’s vodka Ketel One. Nikka completes the list of brands bartenders love.



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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