Brands Report 2023: Brandy

Brandy has been separated out from cognac since 2020, and Torres has prevailed in each poll since then.

Since we pulled cognac out of the brandy category to get a better look inside, we found a category alive with less-heralded European brands. That’s not to say this is a category doing big business in the world’s best bars, but two-thirds of venues we polled stock a brandy that isn’t cognac, almost half stocked two and a third had three.

While Brandy De Jerez contributes the most brands to this list, it is actually the Catalan Torres that wins out – and that’s no surprise. Torres has topped this list since we ­first polled on brandy in 2020. It was found to be the bestselling brandy in 20% and a top-three brandy in 37% of cases. Its solera-aged range offers mature, rich spirits at very affordable prices.

In second, we head to Jerez de la Frontera to Cardenal Mendoza, the classic expression of which is aged for 15 years in oloroso and PX butts. Thirteen per cent of those bars that stock a brandy had it as their house brand, while 23% said it was one of their ­first three.

In third is a brand that’s not strictly a brandy (on account of its wine content), Metaxa, but it’s nice to be inclusive. Besides, 14% of the world’s best bars say it’s their bestselling brandy, with 17% saying it was in their most-used three.

From here, we head back to southern Spain and to Osborne, whose various sub-brands constitute 14% of our sample’s top-three brandies. Lepanto, in ­ fifth, is brandy de Jerez made from sherry, which is about the most Jerez thing ever – it was a top-three choice in 16% of bars.

Meanwhile, Italian brandy Vecchia Romagna is made from Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc), the same grape as cognac, and among our sample’s favourite three in 9% of bars. Carlos I, which is part of the Osborne stable but more of a standalone brand, was found to be in 6% and brandy newish-bie Seven Tails, which is made from three French brandy styles, was in 5%, just ahead of Briottet, which bottles from across France.

Australian St Agnes, our only brandy from outside of Europe, slides into 10th – just.

How we did it

The Annual Brands Report results are the culmination of a survey of 100 bars from 33 countries around the world which have been nominated or won international awards. The report offers a picture of the buying habits of the world’s best bars – not only which brands sell best, but also what’s trending to indicate the brands that are hot right now.

To view the page-turner edition of the Brands Report click here.

The Brands Report will be serialised on throughout January.