According to a new report published by Wine & Spirits Daily, the fastest-growing liquor brand in America is — yet again — Texas-made Tito’s vodka. Launched by Bert “Tito” Beveridge (yes, that’s his real name) in 1997 and financed with $90,000 he borrowed from some 19 credit cards, the brand got its big break in 2001 when it place first against 72 other vodkas in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Wine & Spirits Daily quotes Danny Brager, vice-president of the global market research firm the Nielsen Corporation, as calling Tito’s a “monster in size.” The publication also notes that Tito’s is by far the leading off-premise spirits brand, growing more than 20% year over year and outdistancing the second-place brand, Crown Royal Canadian whisky, by 36%.
According to Forbes, about 88 million bottles were sold last year, up from a mere 63 million in 2017 — and Tito’s founder and owner Bert Beveridge has a net worth of $4.1 billion. (Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to let him represent Texas in a roster of the richest person in every state.)
The spirits category in general is growing, showing a 5.6% increase in sales over the 52 weeks preceding October 5, according to Wine & Spirits Daily. And while vodka and Canadian whisky lead the pack, tequila and bourbon both make strong showings.
After Tito’s and Crown Royal, the fastest growing brands are, in descending order: Fireball cinnamon-flavored whisky; Don Julio tequila; Kentucky’s Jim Beam bourbon; Dutch-made Ketel One vodka; Casamigos tequila (the brand co-founded by actor George Clooney that sold to spirits giant Diageo two years ago for a price that could reach $1 billion); the venerable cognac Hennessy; another Kentucky bourbon, Maker’s Mark; Lady Gaga’s and Rihanna’s favorite Irish whiskey, Jameson; Scotland’s classic Johnnie Walker whisky; still another bourbon from Kentucky, Woodford Reserve; and a third tequila, Patrón.
These brands may all be successful, but they don’t come near Moutai — a brand of the high-proof Chinese liquor called baijiu — which is the only spirits entry on the list of the 50 most valuable brands in the world.