Johnnie Walker is most powerful drinks brand

By Amy Hopkins June 3, 2014
The Spirits Business
Johnnie Walker has retained its title as the world's most powerful drinks brand, beating off competition by Smirnoff and Bacardi.

Ranked top of the Power Brand 2014 list by the drinks business and brand valuation consultancy firm Intangible Business, along with other members of the drinks industry, Diageo's blended Scotch brand Johnnie Walker benefited from booming demand for Scotch whisky for a second year running.

The "power" of a drinks brand is "defined by a brand's ability to generate value for its owner". Looking at a particular brand, analysts examined its share of the market, price positioning, awareness among consumers, relevancy and heritage, among other factors.

Johnnie Walker was noted for "constantly developing" its brand and introducing new variants, as well as harnessing the international popularity of premium Scotch while retaining its heritage credentials.

Analysts scored Johnnie Walker 85% on the Power Brands 100 2014 table, while Smirnoff and Bacardi were awarded 77% and 79% respectively.

"Johnnie Walker deservedly retains the top spot," said Stuart Whitwell, joint managing director at Intangible Business.

"The super-premium brand has forged an enviable reputation the world over and continually develops and introduces new and special edition variants, such as the 2013 Spice, Gold and Royal Route Editions."

Craft sector growth

More broadly, Power Brands analysts found that increased spending in the Western markets buoyed growth of high-end craft spirits across the Bourbon, Scotch and rum sectors.

Meanwhile the overall drinks market grew "significantly" in the past year due to "growing economic confidence. However, a slowdown in the Chinese market - a result of a government clampdown on government spending - lead to "upheaval" in the Cognac category of the Power Brands table.

"More widely across the market, as the shadow of the economic crisis lifts, the wine and spirits industry has benefited from a rejuvenated and buoyant marketplace," continued Whitwell.

"This newfound stability and the prospect of additional merger and acquisition activity make this an interesting time within this highly competitive industry."

Johnnie Walker was also named on a list of the world's "most innovative" companies - the only drinks brand to feature on the countdown.

The Power Brands 100 is a an annual list of the top 100 most powerful alcoholic drinks brands compiled by the drinks business, Intangible Business and numerous other senior drinks industry experts.