Spirit Brands

It’s all about the spirits. Writing about the biggest spirit categories and spirits brands in the market.

Global growth in the spirits market

The global spirits market is estimated to hit US$800bn by 2022, growing almost 20% since 2017.

Different spirits may fall in and out of fashion, but the overall size is colossal.

It comes only second to beer in terms of volume and value within the global alcoholic drinks market, however other markets are not showing the same growth figures.

Much of this is related to the increase in ‘premium spirits’ (typically more than US$100 per bottle) across the market. This segment is growing far faster than the overall spirits market.

What is a spirit?

Spirits are defined as distilled alcoholic beverages and their alcohol content typically ranges from 20% alcohol by volume (abv) to over 50% abv. There are literally hundreds of different spirits, with plenty of local variations, but the most popular are enjoyed across the globe.

What are the most popular spirits?

The most popular spirits globally are;

  • Whisky
  • Vodka
  • Rum
  • Gin
  • Brandy
  • Tequila

In terms of volume and value, Chinese ‘baiju’ is huge but doesn’t have the same global recognition as other spirits.

The overall ‘speciality spirits’ category which includes baiju, sake and aquavit accounts for just over the total market value.

Liqueurs and other spirits such as ready-to-drink cocktails or alcopops are also counted in the spirits category, but typically grouped together for market valuation.

What are the biggest spirits brands?

Chinese baiju brands lead the table in the world’s most valuable spirits, however Diageo’s Johnnie Walker is likely the most well-recognised globally.

Other brands such as Smirnoff Vodka, Ciroc Vodka and Don Julio Tequila (all owned by Diageo) are also increasing in value and recognition.

Bacardi Rum, Hennessey Cognac and Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey all feature in the top 10 of spirits brands.

Spirits Categories


What is Gin?

Gin takes it’s predominant flavour from juniper berries to provide the base flavour. Beyond this, there are many variations and styles of gin and it is one of the widest categories of spirits in terms of flavour.

Gin was brought to Great Britain through the introduction of jenever, a Dutch and Belgian liquor which was originally used medicinally.

There are four legal categories of gin as recognised by the European Union which have subtle variation in the way the spirit is produced. These categories are; Juniper-flavoured spirits drinks, Gin, Distilled gin and London gin.

The common characteristics are juniper as the predominant flavour and a minimum bottling strength of 37.5% abv (30% for Juniper-flavoured spirits drinks).

Gin Brands