Beloved Booze: the Top 5 Best-Selling Liquors in the World

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While it might not shock you that people all over the world love drinking liquor, just how much booze people guzzle, and of what varieties, may surprise you. Liquor drinking habits and palates vary greatly from country to country and continent to continent. Indeed, the world’s most popular liquor is virtually unknown in America, while America’s favorite liquor brands are distant runners-up on the global stage. So sidle up to the bar, grab a bottle of your favorite hard stuff, and see how your tastes match up with those of liquor lovers around the globe.

5 Johnnie Walker

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Johnnie Walker can walk tall and proud, because it is the world’s most popular brand of whiskey. More than 15 million cases of Johnnie Walker sell each year, with the numbers continuing to climb. Thanks to its brand visibility and the company’s varied labels and price points, Johnnie Walker is popular with connoisseurs of all socioeconomic backgrounds from all around the world.

4 Indian Whiskey

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If you combined every domestically produced brand of Indian whiskey together into a single massive distributor, it might just corner the world market. Indians love liquor, drinking almost three times as much of the hard stuff as they do beer or wine, and whiskey is king when it comes to liquor. Indians constitute the world’s biggest market for whiskey, consuming an estimated 200 million cases of it each year, with less than one percent of it imported. Many of their top brands are often compared to various types of fine Scotch whiskey, while others are more akin to sweeter rums.

3 Baijiu

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A concoction called baijiu accounts for an overwhelming 95 percent of the Chinese liquor market. It is the de facto national drink of the billion-plus Chinese, despite the fact that baijiu could easily fill in for paint thinner or jet fuel should you run out of either of those commodities. Drinking the stuff is about as close as you can come to sipping a fire. Many varieties of this sorghum-derived booze are 60-percent ABV, and it is featured at most every Chinese celebration, which is why most every Chinese celebration is totally awesome.

2 Smirnoff Vodka

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The runner up! People drink a lot of vodka. And when they do, most of them drink Smirnoff. This world-famous brand was launched in Russia in the 19th century, and is still associated with and beloved in its birthplace, despite now being owned by a UK-based conglomerate, Diageo. Last year, they sold more than 25 million cases of their flagship liquor. That’s a lot of martinis. And cape cods. And shots.

1 Jinro Soju

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The world’s number one best selling liquor isn’t a Scotch whiskey or a Russian vodka; it’s not a Caribbean rum or a fine French cognac … it’s a Korean soju! Jinro is the maker, and they make a lot of soju. In 2011, the last year for which accurate data is available, more than 61.3 million cases of Jinro soju sold worldwide. At nine bottles a case, that’s more than 550 million bottles of this rice liquor flowing out into world markets.