Hennessy tops the IWSR’s World Class Brand ranking

Hennessy has been named the top-performing global spirits brand in this year’s IWSR World Class Brands rankings. The LVMH-owned cognac rose from last year’s third position, edging out Jack Daniel’s for the top spot. Jameson, Grey Goose and Jim Beam rounded out the top five brands.

The IWSR’s World Class Brands list is the definitive ranking of top-performing global spirits trademarks. 142 brands met the IWSR’s definition of ‘international’. The IWSR then scored each of these brands on its overall market volume in 2014, average price per case and volume growth over the last year.

Last year’s top World Class Brand, Johnnie Walker, reached only no. 34 this year due to a loss of global volumes between 2013 and 2014, says the IWSR.

Hennessy rose to the top of the list despite the crackdown on conspicuous consumption in China where the brand fell nearly -21% in 2014 and the economic problems in Russia – two key markets for the brand. Hennessy achieved an overall market volume of 5.2m cases in 2014, an average price per case of just under $800 and volume growth of 3% in 2014. The brand was particularly strong in the US, rising by just under 10% in 2014 over 2013 to reach 2.5m cases. Hennessy also saw high rates of growth in South Africa, Nigeria and travel retail.

The IWSR #2 brand Jack Daniel’s was “riding the crest of the US whiskey revival,” with innovations such as Tennessee Honey and Tennessee Fire helping to bring in non-traditional consumers, such as females, and participate in new drinking occasions.

Jameson also remains one of the real momentum brands in the US and, last year, surpassed the 2m-case mark there.

Not one Scotch brand ranked in the top 10 of this year’s World Class Brands list despite having the largest overall number of brands on the list with 40. The growth of US and, to a lesser extent, Irish whiskey may also be a contributing factor behind the Scotch slowdown.