World's 50 Best Bars Brands Report: World Whiskies

For the latest instalment of the Brands Report, we quizzed the class of 2013 on the whisk(e)y brands moving through their bars.

We polled 100 of the top 250 bars that recieved votes in our World’s 50 Best Bars 2013 survey.

We asked which are the best sellers and which brands are catching the imaginations of consumers for the trending list.

Don't forget to check out the results for ginvodka, rum, Tequilaliqueurs/bitters and Scotch.


All of the best sellers, with the exception of Japanese whisky Hakushu, are American whiskies. Initially this seems surprising, since Irish whiskey is going like a train and Japanese whisky is currying favour with connoisseurs left, right and centre. 

But, when you think about exactly what is being sold at the bars in the poll, it’s not such a mystery: cocktails are key. American whiskey has a long and colourful association with cocktails – the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned and the Julep to name a few. And we’re not talking just bourbon here - rye is an important component in classic cocktails. 

Maker’s Mark was top of the list last year and its image of provenance does it a lot of favours. In a moment of madness in February last year, (2013) Maker’s Mark announced it would lower the abv from 45% to 42% to keep up with demand – water it down, effectively – but the distiller met fierce opposition from fans. 

About a week after the announcement, the company said it was “more than humbled by the overwhelming response…” and took a u-turn. A wise decision no doubt. 


Japanese superstar Yamazaki has lept up the list from ninth to first position. Like Ardbeg and Talisker on the Scotch list, this whisky is attracting a cult band. 

Late last year, parent company Suntory announced the addition of The Yamazaki Cask Collection – four whiskies matured in different casks: bourbon, puncheon, mizunara and sherry. 

Sister brand Hakushu also has a 2013 Collection but, rather than putting it on general release, the company is seeding it in selected bars so it’ll be interesting to see if that has an impact on next year’s poll. 

It’s good to see Bulleit for the first time since the list was relaunched and it feels like Diageo has really started pushing it – 2013 sales figures to November showed a 71% increase in the US, according to Guestmetrics and 

There are also some high-end launches from Diageo in the pipeline for this year.