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The Power 100, 2015 - It's all to play for

As we approach the 10th annual Power 100 it is fascinating to see how the drinks industry has adapted and developed over the past decade in light of large scale consolidation, a depressed global economy and an increasingly health-conscious society.

2014 overview

We trawled through data from thousands of drinks brands and manufacturers to bring to you a yearly update on the leading 100 spirits and wine brands. Our drinks industry experts used their insight into each brand’s market share and brand equity, among other measures, to produce the ranking, which saw Diageo’s Johnnie Walker reign supreme for the second time in two years.

The Power 100, 2014 was hailed the year of the super-premium Scotch Whisky with 16 of the top 100 brands coming from the Scotch Whisky category and three of which made the top 10, however the ranking is poised for change this year as China cuts back on conspicuous consumption, denting one of the main causes for the significant rise in sales volumes.

2015 predictions

In recent years a brand’s success was largely determined by capturing market share in emerging markets such as China and Brazil, due to the stagnant European market leaving little room for brands to gain volume sale.

With the slow-down of luxury brand purchases in the Chinese market, our drinks experts suspect that the craft aged dark spirits that saw a rise in 2014 are likely to suffer this year. Scotch Whisky and Champagne are likely to be the worst affected, due to their positioning as super-premium brands.

The consolidation of the market is also key to the brands ranking, and the Suntory/Beam deal last year is likely to cause an influx of brands from the Japanese company, as seen with Suntory Whisky in 2014.

Brand cultivation

Over the last nine years of the Power 100, we have seen brands peak and dip in sales, often due to factors such as distribution, positioning and brand equity. Intangible Business believes that the drinks industry is built upon brands and their interaction with consumers, which transcend their primary purpose and evolve into cult brands through their extension.

In order to gain such acclaim, drinks companies are becoming wiser to the power of branding and accumulating brand equity through marketing. Regular brand health checks and due diligence are key to such progress, as seen with Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 and Absolut. Consumer opinion changes, and without such assessments brands can easily lose market share to those who are able to better fulfil consumer needs and better engage with their target markets.

2015 promises to be an exciting year for the drinks industry, with branding and positioning being crucial to the survival and success of many brands. We look forward to seeing who can top the table in the Power 100, 2015, to be released in June at the international wine and spirits exhibition, Vinexpo.