France: Whisky is the most popular spirit among locals
Whisky is the most popular spirit in France and Scottish varieties lead sales of this beverage. In 2015, some 200mn bottles of whisky were sold in the country, representing close to 40% of total spirits sales, whereas only 40mn bottles of vodka were purchased. The country is also the number one consumer of Scotch whisky in the world, with these varieties representing around three quarters (150mn) of the bottles sold in 2015. The remaining 25% corresponded to Irish whiskeys, US bourbons and Asian varieties. Blends account for 90% of the market and William Peel comes in first place with 25% of sales, according to figures from Nielsen, followed by Label 5 (12.5%) and Grant's (11.1%). Johnnie Walker ranks in 11th place. Additionally, France is the largest consumer of single malt Scotch whisky, with Glenfiddich, Aberlour and Glen Grant leading sales. The market is stable and mature, with fluctuations of just 1% depending on the year, while sales of single malt whisky are rising gradually. Retailer La Maison du Whisky, which generates 10%-15% of single malt sales, has experienced an annual growth of 20%-25% over the last 20 years. UK-based Diageo has also driven the increase in Scottish single malt whisky consumption after launching its Classic Malts Selection (Cragganmore, Oban, Glenkinchie, Lagavulin, Talisker and Dalwhinnie) in 1987. Whisky and coke is a gateway drink, although French consumers are against the idea of combining whisky with water, and locals have developed a taste for peaty varieties that has been propelled by the rise of Japanese whisky brands such as Nikka.
Source: Le Monde, 18 Nov 2016