Insights from Drizly’s Top 5 Irish Whiskey Brands
These five brands have held the top Irish whiskey spots since 2020, making them important brands to know ahead of spiking sales in March
Irish whiskey may not be the best-selling whiskey subcategory on Drizly—it accounted for 8.4 percent of the total share of the whiskey category on Drizly in 2022—but it can be a sales leader for retailers in March, when the category sees strong seasonal spikes.
“In 2022, the top day for Irish whiskey was on St. Patrick’s Day, followed by the day before and the day after,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. “The weekend prior to the holiday also saw strong sales with Friday, March 11th being the fourth top sales date; Saturday the 12th was the fifth.”
Outside of March, December, January, and February are the top-selling months for the subcategory. Though share has dipped slightly over 2021 (8.5 percent share) and 2020 (8.8 percent share), it’s largely holding strong.
Unlike wines like Champagne and spirits like tequila, Irish whiskey has largely bucked the trend of premiumization that many segments of the alcohol industry have seen over the past couple of years. The average unit price of Irish whiskey on Drizly in 2022 was $37.67, up from $35.78 in 2021. Though prices were on the rise in the past year, it fell slightly below the average unit price of whiskey overall ($39.24), suggesting Irish whiskey remains one of the more affordable whiskey categories.
Northern New Jersey, Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth, Baltimore, and Phoenix all over-index on Irish whiskey sales on Drizly, with men making up 59 percent of share in 2022—in line with overall whiskey sales, though higher than the 52 percent of overall orders on Drizly.
The five best-selling Irish whiskey brands on Drizly were consistent from 2021 to 2022, with a few key leaders in the subcategory that stand out: Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore D.E.W., Proper Twelve, and Bushmills. This is only a slightly different order of the same brands that made up the top sellers in 2020 (Jameson, Tullamore D.E.W., Redbreast, Bushmills, Proper Twelve), which shows a consistency year-over-year and is a sign that these are the brands for retailers to pay attention to as key sales dates approach.
Jameson is the most recognizable and most purchased Irish whiskey brand on Drizly, with six SKUs making the top 10 overall. Sales are led by the flagship Jameson Irish Whiskey, with the 750-milliliter, 1.75-liter, and one-liter bottles claiming the top three spots, respectively. Jameson Black Barrel comes in at number five, while the 375-milliliter of the flagship comes in at number nine and Jameson Orange Irish Whiskey comes in at number 10. The brand is owned by Pernod Ricard and is made at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork.
From a SKU-specific perspective, Redbreast 12-Year is the fourth-best selling Irish whiskey on Drizly. Sales are so strong, in fact, that it’s the second-best selling Irish whiskey brand on Drizly overall. Redbreast makes pot-still whiskeys that are made with malted and unmalted barley and are triple distilled. It’s matured in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. The brand also has a 12-Year Cask Strength, 15-year, 21-year, and 27-year. Like Jameson, it’s made at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork.
Tullamore D.E.W. has two SKUs in the top 10 selling Irish whiskey SKUs on Drizly: the 750-milliliter bottle and the 1.75-liter bottle of the brand’s flagship original triple-distilled whiskey that’s made with three types of grain. The popular brand also has a number of different cask finishes, including the XO Caribbean Rum Cask finish and Cider Cask finish, as well as 14- and 18-year-old single malts.
Proper No. Twelve is the seventh-best selling SKU on Drizly. It’s also among the top-selling celebrity-backed spirits on Drizly as well. Led by mixed martial arts fighter Connor McGregor, Proper No. Twelve is named after McGregor’s hometown of Crumlin in Dublin 12. It’s distilled at the Bushmills distillery in Northern Ireland and led by master distiller David Elder. First released in 2018, the whiskey is a blend of single-malt whiskeys that are triple distilled in copper pot stills and aged in ex-bourbon barrels. This award-winning whiskey has notes of vanilla, honey, and other characteristics from toasted wood barrels that make it an easy-drinking spirit. Recently, Proper Twelve released a new flavored expression called Irish Apple, which uses natural apple flavoring.
Bushmills is the only whiskey from Northern Ireland to make the top five best-selling Irish whiskeys on Drizly. It’s a historic brand that started in 1608—making it the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. It’s made, matured, and bottled at the distillery in the town of Bushmills. The brand’s flagship Irish whiskey is triple distilled and uses a pre-Prohibition recipe. Bushmills also has a number of other SKUs, including Black Bush and Red Bush (defined by aging in ex-sherry barrels and ex-bourbon barrels, respectively) and four core single malt whiskeys: a 10-year, 12-year, 16-year, and 21-year.