The World's New Top Whiskey Is Also One of Our Favorite Affordable Bourbons

Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s have long dominated the American whiskey market. Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s have long dominated the American whiskey world. In pure sales, there’s no competition. Last year, according to The Spirits Business, Jack Daniel’s sold 14.6 million cases, while Jim Beam sold 16.7 million, making them the top two selling whiskey brands on the planet, titles one of the two have held for at least five years. However, that appeal no longer carries over to the bar—and actually it hasn’t for some time.

Every year, liquor industry news outlet Drinks International surveys 100 bars from 33 countries around the world to find out what drinks consumers order. The selected bars have appeared on iconic best-of lists, such as the World’s 50 Best Bars and Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. Then, Drinks International issues its definitive Brands Report. “The report offers a picture of the buying habits of the world’s best bars—not only which brands sell best, but also what’s trending to indicate the brands that are hot right now,” it reads.

The top spot belongs to one of our favorite affordable bourbons, Maker’s Mark—the Kentucky brand with the red wax-covered top—for the second year in a row. Jim and Jack, once go-tos for “a shot and a beer” or mixed drinks, have given way to slightly more expensive brands, as drinkers become more willing to open their pocketbooks or wallets for a more expensive pour (or maybe the patrons of the surveyed bars are willing to shell out more cash).

Related: Best Cheap Whiskey of 2024 for a Great Bottle on a Budget

Either way, America’s giant whiskey duo sits back in seventh and eighth place, despite their long-carried name recognition in the global marketplace:

  1. Maker’s Mark
  2. Bulleit
  3. Michter’s
  4. Woodford Reserve
  5. Buffalo Trace
  6. Wild Turkey
  7. Jim Beam
  8. Jack Daniel’s
  9. Rittenhouse
  10. Four Roses

The growth of Maker’s Mark and other brands has begun to impact Jim Beam’s numbers, which sold about 300,000 fewer cases last year than they did the year before. It’s worth noting that Jack Daniel’s grew by 7.9 percent last year, but the brand has also stepped into the craft marketplaces with the release of an American Single Malt and the continuation of its successful, experimental Distillery Series. Maker’s Mark, meanwhile, sold 200,000 more cases in 2023 than they did in 2022, an increase of 5.3 percent, although it had a bigger 2022, growing 11.1 percent from 2021.

According to Drinks International’s annual American whiskey trends report, that trend should continue. Instead of relying on business data, this report is more subjective, since the bars themselves decide what climbs up the rankings. And while Maker’s might see competition from Michter’s, Jack and Jim don’t even make the list:

  1. Michter‘s
  2. Maker’s
  3. Bulleit
  4. Woodford Reserve
  5. Buffalo Trace
  6. Angel’s Envy
  7. Blanton’s
  8. Wild Turkey
  9. Elijah Craig
  10. Eagle Rare

Regardless, it seems like consumers are willing to spend a bit more on whiskey than they have in the past—and Jim and Jack are being left behind.

Related: 50 Best Whiskeys in the World 2024

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