Baileys among world’s best-selling duty-free brands

Four Irish brands in global top 50 rankings for travel-retail sales

Baileys remains one of the most popular duty-free spirits in the world despite seeing a 3.6 per cent decline in sales last year.

New figures compiled by the respected International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR), show that three other Irish spirits are included in the top 50 global best-selling travel-retail brands.

Baileys Irish Cream is ranked as the sixth-best selling duty-free brand globally with volumes of 673,000, down from 698,000 a year earlier. Volumes have declined by 1.1 per cent since 2008 when Baileys was the third-best selling duty-free spirit in the world.

Jameson is now in 11th place in the top fifty duty-free brand table, a rise of four places since 2009. Bushmills is in 44th place, up from 64th place five years ago, while Tullamore Dew has climbed 9 places to 47th over the same period.


Despite a 4.5 per cent decline in sales last year, Johnnie Walker maintained its strong lead over the second-largest duty-free brand Absolut.

According to IWSR, Johnnie Walker’s decline is almost entirely attributable to massive declines in Asia-Pacific markets, whereas Absolut’s biggest loss came from the Americas.

The strongest growth of the top 10 travel-retail brands came from Jack Daniel's, which overtook Chivas to take third place. The second fastest-growing brand in the top 10 is Finlandia, which grew 14 per cent in 2013 to tip the 400,000-case mark. Finlandia entered the top 10 this year, pushing out Courvoisier, which declined 7.3 per cent.

Total volumes of spirits in the travel-retail market increased 1.4 per cent globally in 2013, to reach 21.6million nine-litre cases; the top 100 brands accounted for 85 per cent of these, the figures show.

IWSR said the duty-free spirits market in Asia-Pacfic took a tumble in 2013 following years of strong growth while Europe and Americas both continued their upward trend.

The previously fast-growing Asia-Pacific market contracted by 4.4 per cent last year compared to 2012. The growth rate of the global duty-free market is slowing year on year, but this marks is the first time since 2009 that a region has seen a loss in volumes.

Sales in the largest regional market, Europe, grew by just 1.5 per cent last year, but the region increased its share of total volumes to 54 per cent, reversing 2012’s drop in market share. Eastern Europe and the Baltics was the fastest-growing sub-region last year, posting a 9.7 per cent increase in sales.

A revival in tourism in southern Europe helped sales there rise by 2 per cent, while central Europe and the Balkans also grew by 2 per cent. The Nordic and north-west Europe markets saw a slight drop in volumes.

The Americas market saw the most rapid expansion, posting a 4.2 per cent rise in volumes, with Latin America, the Caribbean and North America all enjoying healthy growth. The Americas' share of the global market, at 19.7 per cent, is now well ahead of that of Asia-Pacific, at 17.7 per cent.

Growth continued in Africa and the Middle East, with a 3 per cent increase driven by the expansion of the Middle Eastern market.

Africa suffered the sharpest drop in sales last year, down 9.6 per cent partly as a result of the recent downturn in tourism to Egypt because of political turmoil.

Top 10 travel-retail sales in 2013:

1. Johnnie Walker (Diageo)

2. Absolut (Pernod Ricard)

3. Jack Daniel’s (Brown-Forman)

4. Chivas Regal (Pernod Ricard)

5. Bacardi (Bacardi)

6. Baileys (Diageo)

7. Smirnoff (Diageo)

8. Ballantine's (Pernod Ricard)

9. Hennessy (LVMH)

10. Finlandia (Brown-Forman)

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist