What The World Drinks
Total spirits consumption: 496,745,500 cases
Three biggest brands: Chivas Regal (729,250), Hennessy (673,000), Johnnie Walker (544,300).
China, the world's largest spirits market by volume is among the most diverse in terms of brand and spirit type. While the Chinese consume the most and have more or less the same brands available to them that Americans or the British do, much of what the Chinese drink is locally produced Baijiu. This is why the biggest brands don't break the million-case mark.
Total spirits consumption: 311,669,250 cases
Three biggest brands: Green Mark Vodka (7,920,000), Putinka Vodka (6,210,000), Pyat Ozer Vodka (6,040,000)
No surprise, the Russians like their vodka. But no vodka the Russians put back is particularly popular in any other countries around the world. This is likely because there are so many different brands available there.
Total spirits consumption: 178,407,250 cases
Three biggest brands: Smirnoff Vodka (9,307,000), Bacardi Rum (9,096,000), Captain Morgan Rum (5,945,000)
Who says Americans are out of touch with the rest of the world? Americans' favorite spirit, Smirnoff, is also one of the most popular in the world, selling more than 23 million cases in 2007. But Americans guzzle the lion's share, three times more than the British, where Smirnoff also enjoys No. 1 status. Just outside the top three is Absolut, of which Americans drank more than 5 million cases in 2007, and Jack Daniel's, which clocks in at more than 4 million cases.
Total spirits consumption: 132,936,250 cases
Three biggest brands: Suntory Whisky (4,594,000), Kyogetsu (4,425,000), Jinro Soju (4,125,000)
"For relaxing times, make it Suntory time," Bill Murray begrudgingly utters over and over again as a fictional pitchman for the brand in the movie Lost In Translation. It seems the Japanese were already fond of the whisky brand, in real life, as it's the top spirit in the market. But hot on Suntory's heels in terms of consumption volume are two Korean-made sojus, indicating Japan's taste for imports.
Total spirits consumption: 130,439,000 cases
Three biggest brands: Bagpiper (14,550,000), McDowells Whisky (9,930,000), McDowells Brandy (7,650,000)
Spirits giants have had a tough time breaking into India due to high tariffs, so foreign brands are not easy to find. Instead, Indians have a history of making their own spirits in their former colonists' style, hence the British-sounding names. All of the most popular brands in India are made by UB Group, the third-largest spirits company in the world.
Total spirits consumption: 118,747,500 cases
Three biggest brands: Pirassunuunga 51 (21,336,500), Pitu (9,271,000), Ypioca (5,734,000)
Even if you haven't been to Brazil, concluding that one of the world's largest sugar-cane growers is mad about chachaca (cane rum) isn't much of a stretch. The Brazilians like Pirassununga 51 so much they make it the fourth-biggest brand in the world by volume. But the Brazilians do look beyond the rum, as they also put back about 1.3 million cases of Smirnoff vodka in 2007, as well as one million cases of Johnnie Walker.
Total spirits consumption: 49,006,250 cases
Three biggest brands: Gold Krone Wilthen (1,500,000), Jaegermeister (1,465,000), Gorbatschow Vodka (1,280,000)
It isn't just college kids who drink Jaegermeister, the difficult-to-pronounce, harder-to-stomach dark liqueur; Germans drink enough to put it just shy of the biggest spirit in their country, behind a low-alcohol, German-made brandy. The Germans are, however, diverse in their tastes, as a vodka comes in third.
Total spirits consumption: 38,137,000 cases
Three biggest brands: Ricard (5,265,000), William Peel (1,748,500), Label 5 (1,575,000)
The French prefer their locally made Aniseed, but they also consume a fair amount of Scotch. Still, the two most popular Scotch brands, combined, don't reach the volume of Ricard consumed. True to the French stereotype of going against the grain, none of the world's biggest brands by volume show strong sales there.