There are many different liquors also known as spirits across the world these days with a variety of different quality and of course different prices. As with any other beverage there is certainly a bias towards certain types of liquors by region or area which are usually steeped in history and tradition whether it’s a vodka from Russia, a Bourbon from Kentucky or a single malt whisky from Scotland tradition has shaped the past but what about the future? You would not have mentioned Japanese and whisky in the same sentence at one point in time however now of course Japanese whiskies are winning all kinds of hearts and awards. Things change over time as the world becomes smaller but also as tastes change and technology plays its part in the distilling process and consistency.
The reason I mention this is like most other industries the landscape is continually evolving and new products are being developed on an ongoing basis and to answer the question of how many types of liquor there are is a constantly changing.
What are the main types of Liquor?
The more traditional types of liquors include Brandy, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Vodka, Whisky, Bourbon, Cognac, Sambuca, Anise & bitters with more country / regional specific types such as Soju, Baijiu, Cachaça, Raki, Chinese wine & Pisco. One could therefore answer the question how many types of liquor there are by collating the above types which are 16 main types. Of course there are many different variations of some of these categories such as Raki known in Turkey which is called Arak in the Levant Countries.
Within the Whisky sector this can be further split into different styles as shown below with links to some recommendations of some wonderful brands to purchase:
[Click on the whisky Country above that you are planning to purchase]
The different whiskies have different characteristics and are distilled with differences such as scotch whisky is distilled twice whereas Irish whisky three times therefore the end result is a smoother finish.
In a further article we will carry out a deeper dive into the Whisky cateogory and the key differences between the regions and blends.
Throughout the many distilled spirits available today there are only six base liquors that form the foundation of the majority of cocktails which are brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey are each unique and have distinct styles within themselves.
What are the fastest growing brands in all categories?
It is one thing to understand what are the largest top selling brands which I cover later but its also interesting to note what are the fastest growing as this dictate’s trends but can also relate to a distiller’s strategy to drive certain brands but if no one drinks the product it obviously doesn’t become a trend.
|Men’s Club||Diageo / United Spirits||Brandy||2.0|
|Royal Green||ADS Spirits||Indian Whisky||2.0|
|Bozkov||Stock Spirits Group||Rum||1.7|
|Bangalore Malt||John Distilleries||Indian Whisky||5.1|
|White & Blue||Alcobrew Distilleries||Indian Whisky||2.1|
|Gordon’s||Diageo / United Spirits||Gin||6.5|
|Kozatska Rada||Bayadera Group||Vodka||1.5|
|Royal Challenge||Diageo / United Spirits||Indian Whisky||5.6|
|Imperial Blue||Pernod Ricard||Indian Whisky||22.7|
|Hendrick’s||William Grant & Sons||Gin||1.3|
|Royal Stag||Pernod Ricard||Indian Whisky||21.6|
|Tullamore Dew||William Grant & Sons||Irish Whisky||1.3|
|volumes year 2018 and shown as millions of 9-litre cases|
You could say that out of the list above the Indian whisky brands are certainly on the move upwards with six brands listed followed by three vodka brands which as comparison products couldn’t be any further apart in taste and indeed color.
What are the top selling liquor Brands?
Some of the brands and types of liquor may surprise you below based on how far your tastes have travelled, for example
the top 4 brands in the top 10 are Soju which is a clear, colourless distilled beverage of Korean origin which is usually consumed neat, and its alcohol content varies from about 16.8% to 53% ABV (alcohol by volume).
In at 16 is Classic Blue which is a Chinese clear, colourless liquor typically coming in between 35% and 60% alcohol by volume (ABV). The qū starter culture used in the production of baijiu is usually made from pulverized wheat grain or steamed rice.
In 19thplace is Pirassununga which is Cachaça which is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. Also known as Aguardente, Pinga, Caninha, and other names, it is the most popular spirit among distilled alcoholic beverages in Brazil.
One other comment I would make is that the top selling brands could be driven by either sheer number of people that purchase and consume these brands or by tradition or price but one thing is for sure the volumes are staggering.
|Global Brand Name||Liquor||Global Brand Owner||Unit 2018 in 000’s Liters|
|1||Chamisul||Soju||Hite Jinro Co Ltd||675,909|
|2||Niulanshan Er Guo Tou||Soju||Beijing Shunxin Agriculture Co Ltd||492,358|
|4||Ruang Khao||Rum||Thai Beverage PCL||408,741|
|5||Officer’s Choice||Whisky||Allied Blenders & Distillers Pvt Ltd||315,595|
|7||Emperador||Brandy||Alliance Global Group Inc||234,261|
|9||Tanduay||Rum||Tanduay Distillers Inc||173,838|
|10||Imperial||Whisky||Pernod Ricard Groupe||164,803|
|11||Jing Jiu||Liqueur||Jing Brand Co Ltd||161,915|
|12||Royal Stag||Whisky||Pernod Ricard Groupe||158,920|
|13||Joeunday||Soju||Muhak Co Ltd||144,803|
|14||Bacardi||White Rum||Bacardi & Co Ltd||144,182|
|15||Johnnie Walker||Whisky||Diageo Plc||141,080|
|16||Classic Blue||Chinese Baijiu||Sujiu Group||133,359|
|17||Jack Daniel’s||Bourbon||Brown-Forman Corp||118,277|
|18||Original Choice||Whisky||John Distilleries Pvt Ltd||101,825|
|19||Pirassununga||Cachaça||Cia Muller de Bebidas Ltda||100,005|
|20||Captain Morgan||Spiced Rum||Diageo Plc||99,594|
The main two factors to decide what would be the best liquor 4u would be to start at smoothness and choose a liquor that you can easily add a mixer to and amend to taste such as:
- Gin & Tonic
- White rum & Coke
- Vodka, Lime & soda
To start with the smoother tastes and adding a mixture you can gradient upwards from there if you are looking for a distinct taste.
If you do decide to move on to a whisky then an Irish whisky may be a better place to start as this is smoother than other whiskies and then of course it’s natural to move on to from a taste perspective to a brandy or a whisky which certainly have harsher tastes but can also be tempered down with a mixer or ice, although a true whisky drinker would frown at the mere thought of adding a mixer to their beloved tipple.
If you are in a celebratory mood then you could start to move into the shooter section which could include Tequila, Sambuca and a number of different types and could include Arak although in the Levant this is commonly drunk when they eat raw meat.
data from: Passport 2018 figures / wiklipidia