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The recession may be over, but it has certainly left a mark on the drinks industry. During the period, the biggest alcoholic brands found their market dominance increasingly challenged by newer, cheaper brands, according to the findings of brand consulting firm Intangible Business.
The company collected 200 experts on the drinks industry and researched nearly 10,000 brands in the spirits and wine sectors to come up with a list of 2010's 100 most powerful spirits and wine brands.
The ranking is based on market share, brand growth, price, market scope, brand awareness, relevance, heritage and perception.
So what did they find? Despite the market share gains made by smaller brands, they still haven't cracked the top of the industry: The top brands remain large ones. Click ahead to find out the power certain brands wield around the world.
Posted 1 April 2011
Possibly one of the lesser-known big alcohol brands, Ballantine's is a Scotch whiskey. The heritage of Ballantine's can be traced back to 1827, when farmer's son George Ballantine set up a small grocery store in Edinburgh, supplying a range of whiskies and creating his own blends. In 2005, Ballantine's became a member of the Pernod Ricard family after being sold by global beverage conglomerate Allied Domecq.
It is named after the 17th century Welsh pirate, Sir Henry Morgan, when the Seagram Company started producing rum under the name "Captain Morgan Rum Company," in 1944. Diageo became the owner of this Caribbean-born spiced rum brand in 2001.
Spiced rum initially came from adding medicinal herbs and spices to raw rum and then aging it.
Chivas Regal is a blended Scotch whiskey produced by Chivas Brothers, owned by Pernod Ricard. James and John Chivas began producing their own blended Scotch whisky in the 1850s with the launch of 'Royal Glen Dee'. Only in the early 1900s did the whisky's name change to Chivas Regal when brothers decided to export to the U.S.
Established by Swede Lars Olsson Smith, Absolut vodka is still produced solely in the small village of Åhus in Southern Sweden. Now owned by Pernod Ricard, it was initially labeled "Absolut Rent Brännvin," with "Brännvin" literally meaning "burn-wine." Much of Absolut's fame is due to its long-running advertising campaign based on the distinctive bottle shape. Over the years, Absolut has commissioned more than 300 artists, including Andy Warhol, to create the ads.
The famous sourmash Tennessee whiskey is also considered a straight Bourbon by some, and is known for its square bottles and black label. Founded by Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel in the prohibition era, Jack Daniel's is produced in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Sour mash whiskey is named after a distilling process that uses material from an older batch of mash (a combination of grain, brewer's yeast and water) to start fermentation in the batch currently being made.
French brand Hennessy is the most powerful cognac brand in the world, according to Intangible Business. Jas Hennessy & Co., or simply Hennessy, is part of luxury goods group Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy. The Hennessy cognac distillery was founded by Irishman Richard Hennessy in 1765.
Sprung from Roman times when they blended wine with Mediterranean herbs, Martini Vermouth is now a widely acknowledged aperitif. It was created by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi in 1863 in Turin, Italy. In 1992, Martini & Rossi merged with Bacardi.
Bacardi remains one of the few major family-controlled drink companies and is synonymous with rum, distributing the spirit to over 100 countries.
It began with Catalan wine merchant Facund Bacardi i Masso's attempts to "tame" rum, which in the early 1800s was not considered a refined drink. In 1862, in Cuba, Facundo created the world's first premium-aged white rum. The famous bat was considered a symbol of good fortune and family unity and was adopted by Facundo's wife.
Johnnie Walker is another member of the Diageo family. It's a brand of Scotch whiskey with several labels over a wide price range: From the Red Label, which sells for upwards of $27.20, to the premium Blue Label, which retails from $208 and higher.
Originally known as Walker's Kilmarnock Whiskey until 1908, the Johnnie Walker brand is a legacy left by John "Johnnie" Walker after he started selling whiskey in his grocer's shop in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Part of the Diageo team, the Smirnoff brand has retained its crown as "the most powerful." It began with a vodka distillery founded in Moscow, by Pyotr Smirnov. Born the son of illiterate Russian peasants, he would became one of the country's wealthiest men. He accumulated a fortune of more than $130 million by the time of his death in 1898.