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Impact Databank: Johnnie Walker Leads The Global Value Rankings, But Hennessy Is Climbing

May 12, 2016

When it comes to the world’s most valuable spirits brands, there’s Johnnie Walker and then everyone else. Even as the Scotch leader shed more than 2 million cases in volume over the past few years, it continues to ring up annual retail value in excess of $5 billion, according to Impact Databank. Johnnie Walker remains more than $1.5 billion above any other spirits brand.

But considerable change is occurring within Impact’s exclusive ranking of the top 100 global spirits brands by retail value. While Johnnie Walker remains firmly in the lead position, Diageo portfoliomate Smirnoff will likely lose its hold on the number-two slot by year-end.

Hennessy, the third-ranked brand for many years, is climbing. Over the past six years, the Cognac brand has tacked on more than $1 billion in annual retail sales revenue, according to Impact Databank. In 2009, Hennessy trailed Smirnoff by nearly $700 million. By the end of 2015, that disparity had narrowed to less than $50 million—even as Smirnoff and Hennessy both added about 2 million cases annually during that period.

While Hennessy and the Cognac category are on the rise, Johnnie Walker and the Scotch category are struggling. With its volume down by more than 10% over the past two years, Johnnie Walker is garnering far less retail value. The Diageo brand’s retail sales value has dropped by more than $500 million since 2013. Meanwhile, Chivas Regal—the world’s second-most valuable Scotch brand—has seen its sales value fall by around $100 million during that period, as its volume has declined by around 6%.

Though its two biggest value players haven’t achieved much growth lately, Diageo has had one of the industry’s biggest recent success stories: Crown Royal Regal Apple. Introduced in the closing months of 2014, Regal Apple has revitalized the Crown Royal franchise—catapulting it to the top of the retail sales value rankings in the U.S. market. By the end of 2016, Crown Royal will likely be the most valuable spirits brand in the U.S., leapfrogging stablemate Smirnoff, which has been in the top spot for years.

The full Top 100 retail value rankings and feature appear in the May 1 edition of Impact.

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