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Heineken, Moët & Chandon are the world’s most valuable liquor brands

Heineken, Moët & Chandon are the world’s most valuable liquor brands
(Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

In South Africa, Castle Lager, Rupert & Rothschild and Van Ryn reign supreme.

A Dutch beer, Champagne and China’s “national liquor” are the most valuable brands, according to the latest report by global brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance: Heineken, Moët & Chandon and Maotai.

The ranking including three alcoholic drink categories: beer, spirits and champagne/wine.

Dutch brewing giant Heineken has become the world’s most profitable beer brand, surpassing last year’s winner, Corona Extra.

Valued at $7.6-billion in the latest report, Heineken is also ranked second in terms of brand strength. 

Nipping at Heineken’s heels are China’s Tsingtao and Zhujiang, which are rapidly growing in brand value.

Last year, the Dutch beer brand launched Heineken Silver, a 4% light lager brewed with an ice-cold lagering process at -1°C.

Europe’s best-selling beer brand saw improved revenues and organic growth because of price hikes across the past year, so beer drinkers are not necessarily drinking more, but rather drinking better, said Brand Finance associate director, Henry Farr: “Visits to bars and restaurants are becoming less regular and less spontaneous, meaning many consumers are looking to trade up on their beer of choice, prioritising taste and quality over price. Beer brands that are delivering on high-quality premium lagers seem to be doing well.”

On Monday, the brewing giant revealed that its H1 operating profit was down 8.8% (compared with the expected 4.8% decline) after an economic slowdown in Vietnam and price hikes flattened sales volumes, but it looked forward to a stronger second half of 2023.

Japanese beer brand Asahi (brand value up 11% to $2.8-billion) is the world’s strongest beer brand title with a AAA+ rating and the highest Sustainability Perceptions Score. Close behind is another Japan-based brand, Kirin (ranked 7th with a brand value of $3.2-billion).

Brand Finance determines the relative strength of brands by measuring marketing investment, stakeholder equity and business performance. Its assessment of stakeholder equity incorporates market research data drawn from more than 100,000 respondents in 38 countries and across 31 sectors.

Zhujiang  (brand value up 44% to $680-million) grew this past year, in part due to its improved standing with younger, more price-sensitive consumers, said the report. Unlike most competitors who have opted for price hikes, Zhujiang has maintained stable beer prices, offering a quality, mid-price alternative.

One of the most famous beer brands in the world, Tsingtao’s brand value growth (up 39% to $2.1-billion) is linked to last year’s launch of more than 250 taverns and a new and immersive customer-centric strategy.

Tequila is on the rise, with 1800 and Casamigos as the two fastest-growing spirit brands, both more than doubling in value.

1800 Tequila is a super-premium Mexican brand owned by the Beckmann family, who also own Jose Cuervo. 

Moutai is the world’s most valuable spirit brand.

liquor

Following closely behind 1800, Casamigos has more than doubled its brand value. Founded by actor George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman, Casamigos has been owned by Diageo since 2017. Last year, Casamigos was the world’s fastest-growing spirits brand.

Premium baijiu (a colourless liquor typically between 35% and 60% alcohol by volume) Maotai (brand value up 16% to $49.7-billion) retains its title as the world’s most valuable spirit brand. Hailed as China’s national liquor, Maotai’s heritage and association with Chinese tradition is key to its market dominance.

Moët & Chandon maintains its title as the most valuable Wine & Champagne brand, valued at $1.3-billion, despite the fall in Champagne brands. 

Changyu, China’s oldest and largest winery, is the world’s strongest Wine & Champagne brand, rated AAA-, while Penfolds, Australia’s most celebrated wine producer, is the fastest-growing brand, up 48%. Its brand value is up 48% to $659-million.

By embracing new technologies and innovation, Penfolds has streamlined its consumer-centric approach. Last year it launched a wine collection which, for the first time, expanded beyond Australian-made wines to include French and Californian wines as part of the brand’s efforts to enhance global brand awareness and market share, resulting in improved brand value and strength. 

More recently, the brand unveiled its Digital Sommelier programme to improve product education and grow its customer base.

liquor

Changyu (brand value up 33% to $1.2-billion), climbed two positions in this year’s ranking. Changyu withstood a market downturn in China during Covid by adapting its strategy to an online sales approach, enabling it to target a younger, more tech-capable consumer base. 

Champagne brands such as Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon (brand value down 10% to $750-million) and Veuve Clicquot (brand value down 2% to $942-million) have all seen a decline in brand value. 

Whisky/whiskey 

Jack Daniel’s (brand value up 21% to $3.5-billion) is the world’s most valuable whiskey brand in the ranking. Last year, the brand launched a popular limited edition whiskey for the year, along with adding two new super-premium whiskeys to its line. 

Towards the end of 2022, “Jack” also announced its official partnership with McLaren’s 2023 Formula 1 team. Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker (brand value up 16% to $3.05-billion) is the second most valuable brand. 

Rum 

Cuba-based Bacardi (brand value down 28% to $2.3-billion) is the world’s most valuable rum brand, followed by Captain Morgan (brand value down 6% to $993-million).

Vodka 

Smirnoff (brand value down 1% to $2.6-billion) is the world’s top vodka. 

Tequila

The tequila sector is dominated by three Mexican brands: Don Julio, Patrón and José Cuervo. The sector’s growth is linked to the proliferation of celebrity-owned brands (such as Clooney, The Rock, and Kendall Jenner), which have improved the visibility of tequila-based products and the premiumisation of the sector, driven by lifestyle and taste aspirations. 

Gin

Gordon’s (brand value up 38% to $790-million) has overtaken runner-up, Bombay Sapphire (brand value up 3% to $631-million), to become the world’s most valuable gin brand. Gordon’s has expanded and diversified its product offerings, including its Tropical Passionfruit flavoured gin and its Gin & Lemonade ready-to-drink cans in 2022. Hendrick’s (brand value up 22% to $373-million) is the world’s third most valuable gin brand. 

Local brands

On country-specific growth, Brand Finance’s managing director for Africa, Jeremy Sampson, said: “With South Africa’s economy facing challenges, including inflation, an inefficient government and a declining local currency value, the prices of imported brands have become an issue for some consumers. 

“However, this has caused a more positive shift towards South Africa’s local brands, as wine tourism is on the rise and overseas buyers increase. Mainly from France, buyers are establishing partnerships or acquiring assets as they are currently perceived as better value for money compared to other wine regions.”

South Africa’s top-selling beers are Castle, Black Label and Hansa (all Anheuser-Busch InBev brands), while the top wines are Rupert & Rothschild, followed by Chocolate Block, which owes much of its commercial success to the involvement and branding expertise of its owners, former ad agency professionals.

Other brand leaders are Van Ryn, Viceroy and Richelieu, with Inverroche gin now in French giant Pernod Ricard’s stable. DM

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