Despite hitting heights of 100m 9-litre case sales globally, cachaça is a small category in the high-end bar. But, slowly, bars have started to stock more of the Brazilian spirit. Some observers have pointed to Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics as sparks for the category, and while Caipirinhas might have crossed more customers’ minds, the lime and ice drink isn’t exactly the next Mojito. Indeed, only three-quarters of the bars we polled stocked cachaça, let alone had a range.
So, a slightly smaller sample, but likely we could have doubled or tripled our pool of respondents and we would have came back with the same answer. Leblon was the top cachaca, coming out as best seller in a quarter of the bars polled. The brand had great success with its Legalise Cachaça campaign in the US and now operates in around 35 markets.
The brand also benefits from now being fully owned by Bacardi, while still led by founder Steve Luttmann, so is in place to push further into the bar world.
Quality cachaça is what works in top bars and Sagatiba is another brand playing the premium game. It has supplemented its core unaged cachaça Pura with Velha – a pot still product with at least two years in oak – and launched Sagatiba Preciosa, a 23-yearold, £200 expression.
A bartender is more likely to drop threefigures on a whisky or cognac but it’s a sign of intent from this traditionally underpremiumised category. In third to sixth places are the volume players. Of them, you might say Ypióca has an outside chance of making serious inroads. Owner Diageo has the worldwide distribution and brand-building pedigree should the category start to grow.
The Drinks International Annual Bar Report looks to gauge the buying habits of the best bars in the world by conducting a survey of their owners, head bartenders and bar managers.
The bars that took part – what we refer to as the best bars in the world – are a sample of 108 bars that finished in the top 250 places of the World’s 50 Best Bars survey, now owned by William Reed Business Media. Given the depth and scope of The World’s 50 Best Bars poll (voted for by 476 global bar experts) we feel this is the most credible place to source our sample of bars.
In each instance we asked the bartender to rank their three best selling products in each category, giving us an indication of the brands that are selling best.
As we know, a best selling brand, even in the best bars in the world, earns its place on more than taste, so we also wanted to know the brands that are not necessarily doing huge volumes but have cool-appeal right now. This is where the Trending brands come in. These are the brands customers are increasingly asking for, perhaps because of word of mouth, or even on bartenders’ recommendations.
For more on the methodology see How we did it