12 Countries That Export the Most Whiskey in the World

·8 min read

In this piece, we will take a look at the 12 countries that export the most whiskey in the world. For more companies, head on over to 5 Countries That Export the Most Whiskey in the World.

Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage that is made from several kinds of grains, such as barley and wheat. It also has a central place in American history, particularly during the U.S.' younger years after the Revolutionary War. This was due to the fact that whiskey was one of the few liqueurs that could be made from grains grown in the U.S. - and the distillation of whiskey from corn gained popularity as a means to prevent corn wastage.

Now, the global whiskey industry is worth billions of dollars. A research report from GM Insights believes that the global whiskey market was worth $60 billion in 2020, and between 2021 and 2027 it will grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9% to be worth more than $85 billion by the end of the forecast period. The research firm attributes this growth not only to higher consumer spending power and a growing millennial population able to make purchases but also to claimed health benefits of the drink such as reducing stress and preventing diseases such as heart problems and diabetes. According to GM Insights, Scotch whiskey was the most popular whiskey in 2020, as it accounted for more than one third of the market by bringing in $22.8 billion in revenue.

When compared to the global whiskey market, the American whiskey market will grow faster according to research from 360MarketUpdates. The research firm speculates that the market will grow at a nearly double digit CAGR of 9.85% from 2022 to 2027. It adds that the market was worth $10.7 billion in 2022 and will sit at $18 billion in 2027.

Like other industries, the whiskey industry is also making use of technology to help with production. For example, a Swedish firm called Mackmyra Svensk Whisky AB (publ) (STO:MACK-B.ST) is the world's first company that has produced whiskey using artificial intelligence. While whiskey flavors are generally formulated by a master blender, Mackmyra partnered up with a Finnish firm Fourkind (now Thoughtworks Finland) to use Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)'s Azure cloud computing system to create an AI platform to sort through different combinations for the perfect whiskey flavor. The algorithm sifted through different datasets which covered customer preferences, existing recipes, expert opinions, cask categories, and more to analyze a whopping 70 million combinations.

In addition to AI, other novel technological approaches are also making their mark on the whiskey industry. For instance, Cleveland Whiskey is taking aim at the long aging process that gives whiskey its trademark flavor and reduces its harshness. The firm uses high pressure stainless steel tanks to force whiskey in and out of wood. This ends up improving efficiency, as the spirit is not evaporated and it also reduces the aging time. Another firm, Bespoken Spirits, is also taking aim at the maturation process. It uses "micro staves" to pressure feed the spirit and give it the traditional flavors that are generally associated with oak barrels.

The wave of inflation that hit consumers last year had its effect on the alcoholic beverages market as well. At its fiscal third quarter of 2023 earnings report, Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ) executives shared that while beer sales were affected by inflation, their higher end hard liquor ended up actually growing its sales during the turbulent period. They outlined that the Wine and Spirits business grew its contribution to overall revenue by 7% year to date, with the chief financial officer stating:

The Wine & Spirits business decreased 1%, primarily driven by a 13% decrease in shipments, partially offset by a favorable product mix, which both related to consumer-led premiumization and mix improvements of our portfolio. From a depletions perspective, while the Wine & Spirits business saw a decline of approximately 6% on an organic basis in Q3 as Bill noted earlier, our higher-end brand delivered strong performance with our Aspira portfolio, which includes our fine wine and craft spirits brands, delivering depletion growth of 9%, driven by growth in our Prisoner Wine and High West brands. Meanwhile, our Ignite portfolio, which includes our mainstream and premium Wine & Spirits brands primarily faced headwinds from our mainstream brands, which was down 8%.

That said, in tracked channels, our largest higher-end brands continue to outperform their corresponding segments, and our peak premium brands portfolio actually gained share in the category with particularly strong performance from Meiomi and Kim Crawford in both volume and dollar sales growth.

Apart from Constellation, some of the largest alcohol, hard liquor, and whiskey companies are Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO), LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton, Société Européenne (EPA:MC.PA), Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE:BF-B), and Pernod Ricard SA (EPA:RI.PA).

12 Countries That Make the Best Whiskey in the World
12 Countries That Make the Best Whiskey in the World

Copyright: monticello / 123RF Stock Photo

Our Methodology

We used global export data to sift out the countries that export the most whiskey in the world. Our list has all the famous whiskey producing countries but there is also a surprising Asian country among the top 5 results. Can you guess which Asian country exports the most whiskey in the world?

12 Countries That Export the Most Whiskey in the World

12. Kingdom of Belgium

Whiskey Exports in 2021: $151 million

The Kingdom of Belgium is a prosperous and developed European country with a GDP per capita of $62,065. Belgium is known to make some of the best whiskey in Europe, despite being in the continent that claims to be the originator of the alcoholic beverage. One of the most famous Belgian whiskey is Jean-Louis Baltus and Etienne Bouillon's Belgium Owl brand. This whiskey consistently ranks as one of the best whiskey in the world. In fact, its latest award came in 2022. Another famous Belgian whiskey maker is the Braeckman Distillery. Braeckman's single grain, single barrel whiskey was named the European whiskey of the year in Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible of 2021.

11. Republic of Panama

Whiskey Exports in 2021: $160 million

The Republic of Panama, or simply Panama, is a North and South American country. It primarily relies on natural resources such as copper and petroleum for its exports At the same time, the Republic of Panama exported $160 million of whiskey in 2021. These were divided into four products which were concentrates that are used in whiskey production, products higher and lower in value than 70% of alcohol and other products. The Panamian rum RON ABUELO CENTURIA 70cl 40% is one of the more expensive spirits, going for as much as EUR210 per bottle, and has a connection to whiskey through being aged in Jack Daniel barrels for as long as thirty years.

10. Kingdom of Spain

Whiskey Exports in 2021: $169 million

The Kingdom of Spain is another high income European country. Spain has a number of whiskey distilleries, with one of the more renowned ones being the Destilerias Y Crianza del Whisky. Additionally, Spain is also famous for its whiskey casks. These casks, made from sherry, are known to give whiskey aromas such as fruit, spicy, and leather. A new Spanish whiskey company is the Basque Moonshiners distillery, which produces the Agot whiskey and won the Best Single Malt award in 2020.

9. Federal Republic of Germany

Whiskey Exports in 2021: $285 million

The Federal Republic of Germany is the most prosperous country in Europe and a great power in modern day politics. Like the Netherlands, Germany is also a relatively newer whiskey maker with the first production starting at the tail end of the 1900s. Some German whiskey distilleries are Bayerwald-Bärwurzerei Spezialitäten-Brennerei Gerhard Lieb, Black Forest - Rothaus, Blackwood, Blaue Maus, St. Kilian Distillers, and Schlitzer Destillerie. Out of these, Bayerwald-Bärwurzerei Spezialitäten-Brennerei Gerhard Lieb and Black Forest - Rothaus have won multiple whiskey awards, while some others have been operating as non whiskey distilleries for centuries. Germany is also one of the world's largest whiskey exporters.

8. Canada

Whiskey Exports in 2021: $295 million

Canada is a developed North American country that traces a large land border with the U.S. - its primary trading partner. Canada makes several different kinds of whiskies and has different brands as well. Some of these are Gooderham & Worts 49 Wellington, Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky, Pike Creek 10 Year Old Rum Barrel Finished, JP Wiser's 15 Year Old, Lock Stock & Barrel Lock Stock & Barrel 16 Year, and Forty Creek Confederation Oak.

7. Netherlands

Whiskey Exports in 2021: $345 million

The Netherlands, or Holland, is a Northwestern European country with a colonial past. When compared to some other European countries that have been distilling whiskey for centuries, the Dutch are relatively newer to the scene. The Netherlands has two whiskey distilleries. These are the Us Heit distillery located in Bolsward and the Zuidan distillery in Baarle-Nassau. The former has been producing the Frysk Hynder single malt since 2004 while the latter produces whiskey under the Millstone brand. Despite the relatively younger industry, France is also one of the largest whiskey exporters in the world.

6. French Republic

Whiskey Exports in 2021: $362 million

The French Republic, or France, is a European developed country and a great power in modern day politics. France is home to some of the most well known alcohol companies in the world, such as LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton, Société Européenne (EPA:MC.PA). LVMH itself makes several different kinds of whiskies such as Glenmorangie, scotch whisky, and single malt. France also has more than three dozen whiskey distilleries, and out of these, some of the more prominent names are Warenghem distillery, Distillerie des Menhirs, Castan distillery, and Domaine Mavela.

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Disclosure: None. 12 Countries That Export the Most Whiskey in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.