Brands Report 2021: Irish whiskey

It says something of Irish whiskey’s progress over recent years that 92% of respondents to our survey stock the category of spirits in their bar – that just wouldn’t have been the case 10 years ago.

Most stock Pernod Ricard’s Jameson (three-quarters put it in their top three) and a slim majority relies on it as their house Irish whiskey (53%). Why? Jameson is a strong proposition for the bar operator for a number of reasons – it’s got an everyman taste profile, it’s affordable (and might well come with incentives) and, while being well-known, it’s premium enough to put on most menus. Throw in the added interest of spin-o Black Barrel, Crested and Caskmates expressions and you have whiskeys for most occasions. Not only is it top of our bestselling list, it sits at the summit of our trending league too.

There’s a chasm between first and second, with Teeling heading up the chasing pack. Teeling, which sold a minority stake to Bacardi in 2017, has to be considered a leader of the next generation. An impressive 11% of respondents named the blended whiskey their house pour. More than a quarter said it was among their three bestselling Irish whiskeys, while Teeling also ranks well in our trending list.

It’s another blend in third spot: the Casa Cuervo of Mexico-owned Bushmills. This was the house pour in 7% of bars with a quarter making it among their top three. Pernod’s hearty Redbreast, in fourth, shares similar stats, and is no imposter at this end of the list. It’s not a house pour in most, but it’s a go-to power play from the back bar – it’s joined in the list by stablemate Green Spot in sixth. 

If Jameson, Bushmills and Tullamore are the traditional big three blends of the category, the latter might feel it can do better than mid-table – 20% said it was among their top three roster. Connemara is the established peated whiskey of the category and has a small cult following in the bar trade. Eleven per cent said it’s stocked among their top three Irish whiskeys. Diageo’s Roe & Coe and Brown Forman’s Slane loiter with intent in positions eight and nine, with the high-end JJ Corry making its debut in 10th.



The results of this report are the culmination of a questionnaire of 106 bars around the world, each cherry-picked to take part based on their performance in global bar awards. We aim to find out not only which brands sell best but also what’s trending. These two data sets give us an insight into the brands that are doing the most volume and the brands that are hot right now.

To read more on the methodology of the Brands Report click here.