While tequila continues to reign supreme among the spirits of choice in Mexico, whisky is gaining ground and is challenging the iconic Mexican drink.
In terms of net value, whisky is already second to tequila. While the domestic spirit had a market share of 26.4% last year, that of whisky rose threateningly close to 20.8%, according to the consultancy ISCAM.
The market research firm Euromonitor International reported that between 2011 and 2016, sales of whisky — single malt, Scotch whisky blends, bourbon, Canadian, Irish, Japanese and others — rose 75.4%.
The most popular are the American and Scotch whiskies. Among those, the Johnnie Walker and Buchanan’s brands, distilled by the multinational firm Diageo, and Pernod Ricard’s Passport are the favorites.
“Whiskies performed well during 2017,” said Diageo Mexico managing director Erik Seiersen, pointing out that Johnnie Walker and Buchanan’s grew 16 and 14% respectively.
The Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark brands, distilled by the United States-based Beam Suntory, have also shown strong growth. Sales have been up more than 20%, said the firm’s director of marketing in Mexico.
The figures show that “people in Mexico are eager to taste new flavors,” said Mauricio de Tuya Graciano.
The firm opened a Mexico office earlier this month to promote its whisky and tequila brands in the domestic market.
Becle S.A.B. de C.V., the parent company of tequila giant Jose Cuervo, is also betting on whisky after acquiring Pendleton Whisky, adding it to a list that includes Stranahan’s, Tincup and Bushmills.