Brands Report 2023: Sherry

There are many styles of sherry, but one classic brand has made itself indispensable to top ’tenders.

Perhaps sherry isn’t the number one forti­fied in bars – that rare­fied title goes to vermouth – but this Spanish wine does fulfil a similar, if less prolific, role in the world’s best bars. The Spanish wine is an ever-increasing sight in bars’ new menus, indeed, 84% of our sample stock a bottle, 72% have two sherries and two thirds have three. No doubt some have four or ­five, perhaps even more. You see, this is a category of many styles, each with a very different use behind the bar.

Take the austere ­ no or manzanilla, which can be a switch up from a dry vermouth, lending that distinct sherry note to Martini-style drinks. For something with more body but still dry, sherry offers bartenders amontillados, olorosos and palo cortardos. Or, as an interesting alternative to a cocktail’s sweet element, the category has naturally sweet wines in moscatel and Pedro Ximénez.

Though if you do stock a sherry, chances are you stock Tío Pepe. This – the most famous of all sherries – lends itself to aperitivo hour as much as an ingredient in a cocktail. It was the top bottle in 38% of those that stock sherry, almost all of which had a bottle somewhere. A classic brand, Tío Pepe is also the one customers currently call for – it was once again found to be the trending sherry.

Meanwhile Lustau, which covers the gamut of styles mentioned above, is a quality-end one-stop-shop for a bartender’s sherry needs. A third of those bars that sold sherry made Lustau their best seller.

Gonzalez Byass’ line of self-titled sherries also covers o‑ the major styles. Though its range (minus Tío Pepe, which we consider a standalone brand and separate out) seems to play second fiddle to that of Lustau. Of those that stock sherry, 7% made Gonzalez Byass their number one, with a quarter of our sample stocking one of its products.

Sandeman, another with the spectrum of styles, was the bestselling sherry in 8% of bars and part of the supporting cast in 15%, while Valdespino was stocked by 14%, La Gitana in 12% and Osborne in 11%. The ­final three brands were very occasional sights in our bars’ sherry offering.

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.