The Best-Selling Whiskey Brands in the USA

The Best-Selling Whiskey Brands in the USA

In different countries, strong alcoholic beverages have different names – whiskey, scotch, vodka, rum, brandy – but are invariably appreciated by those who have learned to make them. The main difference between high-proof spirits lies in the raw materials. For example, rum is made from molasses, while vodka is made from any fermentable product.

What is whiskey?

Whiskey is a beverage obtained by distilling malted grains. Its main ingredients are rye, wheat, barley, and corn.

The production process involves six stages:

  1. Germination and grinding of the grains, called malting.
  2. Drying.
  3. Brewing into a thick liquid called wort.
  4. Adding yeast and fermenting.
  5. Distillation to obtain pure alcohol.
  6. Aging for three years or more.

Among other 40-proof beverages, whiskey stands out for its rich flavors, achieved through varying raw material proportions, additives, aging in charred barrels, and filtration techniques. The finished drink features notes of dried fruits, honey, cinnamon, apples, citrus, and flowers. For aged spirits, chocolate, caramel, and woody tones are common.

Whiskey is especially appreciated in America and Europe, which account for the largest share of sales. The best brands are produced in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan. However, the main whiskey-producing country is Scotland.

What is the history of whisky?

History USA Whiskey Brands

It is believed that the technology for making whiskey was discovered in the 15th century in Europe. At least, the first mentions of it date back to this period. Interestingly, it was monks who, despite religion’s disapproval of alcohol, introduced the world to whiskey and most other fermented beverages. Irish clergy is credited with its invention.

The properties of grain alcohol were considered medicinal, and after the dissolution of monasteries in the 16th century, it was sold in pharmacies for a long time. Gradually, the valuable beverage became elite, accessible only to aristocrats. Commoners were forbidden to produce it, as a very high tax was imposed on alcohol. To this day, whiskey is not affordable for everyone. The price for the most aged and famous brands can reach several hundred dollars.

The main law regulating malt liquor production appeared in the United Kingdom in 1860. It established the stages of the technology, which led to the development of whiskey distilleries and the emergence of quality and well-known whiskey brands.

What types of whiskey are there in classification?

What types of whiskey are there in classification

Two main types of raw materials can be used for production:

  1. Malt – germinated, processed, and ground grains. During the process, starch is transformed into sugars, ready for fermentation. The wort from malted grains is distilled in a special still (from one flask to another by heating). This product is called malt whiskey.
  2. Grain – any milled cereal seeds. Alcohol is produced by multiple heating and condensation in large columns. The final product is called grain whiskey. It is of lower quality and is used in blends.

From grain and malt whiskies, the following are made:

  • • Single malt whiskies, which use malt whiskey from a single distillery.
  • • Single malt blends, which involve blending malt whiskies from different distilleries.
  • • Blended whiskies, which include both malt and grain whiskies in the mix.
  • • Pure grain whiskey from a single distillery.
  • • Grain blends, which consist of grain whiskies from various distilleries.

Elite single malt whiskies are considered to be bottled from a single barrel. In this case, the label will have a “single malt” mark. Fans of fortified alcohol can try undiluted whiskey. Usually, after aging in barrels, it has a strength of 50-65 degrees and is diluted with pure water to 40 degrees. However, in some cases, it is bottled as is, with a “cask strength” mark.

Types of American whiskey

Types of American whiskey

American whiskey offers an impressive variety of types, depending on the main raw material and the aging process. However, rye and corn-based spirits are the most common due to the suitable climate for these crops.

  • Corn. It adds sweetness. Two types of whiskey are made from corn: bourbon (an exclusively American product made from 51% corn mash) and corn whiskey (80%). The former is aged in new charred oak barrels, giving it a beautiful dark color and aroma. The latter is a strong and sharp product, used immediately after distillation.
  • Rye. It provides a spicy aroma. Rye distillate contains at least 51% rye malt. In the US, the product is labeled “rye whiskey.” However, in many blends, rye is used as an additive, and the label may indicate “High Rye.”
  • • Barley. The malt is responsible for a wide variety of flavor nuances. Scotch is made from barley. However, in the US, no less than 51% of this raw material is used, while in Scotland, the birthplace of real Scotch, it is 100%.
  • • Wheat. It ensures a smooth and floral aroma. Wheat is rarely used as the main ingredient. It is more often used as an additive, like rye. However, in some cases, you may find wheat whiskey with 51% grain content on the shelf. After the mandatory two-year aging period, its strength in barrels is about 80 degrees.

A special mark on the bottle can identify the raw material used.

Top Selling Whiskey in the USA


Ballantine’s Whiskey Logo

The owner of the distillery, George Ballantyne, worked on creating unique alcohol for more than 30 years, blending different types of spirits. The result was a blend of 49 grain and malt whiskies, differing in aging and aroma. You can only taste such a flavor range in Ballantine’s lineup. The brand’s drinks are one of a kind. The recipe is intricate and kept secret. Thus, those who enjoy the blend become lifelong customers and fans. No wonder the brand ranks second in the world in sales among Scotch whiskies. Its birth year is considered to be 1869. The whiskies for the blend are produced in the company’s own distilleries, with aging periods ranging from 3 to 40 years.

The elegant logo inscription emphasizes the balanced taste and strict adherence to proportions.

Ballantine’s Whiskey

Bell’s Whiskey

Bell’s Whiskey Logo

The distinctive feature of this brand is its blackcurrant and honey flavor. The drink is considered the calling card of Great Britain, which is why the national flag is featured on its logo. The drink is named after its creators, the Bell family. The brand’s founding year is 1825, although, at that time, only a shop was opened where the famous whiskey would later be sold. Arthur Bell created his masterpiece in 1863 after 12 years of experimentation. He only patented his discovery and founded a blending company shortly before his death.

Bell’s Whiskey

Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey

Black Velvet Canadian Whisky Logo

Upon founding the distillery in 1933, the Gilbee brothers immediately introduced innovations in whiskey production technology to make their drink stand out in the market. They applied triple filtration to blended spirits aged 5-8 years. The result was an unusual aristocratic smoothness worthy of kings. This characteristic is reflected in the whiskey’s name and logo, featuring a heraldic coat of arms.

Consumers appreciated the taste, and by 1945, sales volumes began to rise. Today, Black Velvet is consumed most in the US. The two main types of drink differ in their aftertaste. The five-year blend features citrus and sherbet notes, while the eight-year-old alcohol has hints of roasted nuts and caramel.

Black Velvet Canadian Whisky

Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky

Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky Logo

A 15-year aging period places this product in the elite category – it ranks among the top five Scottish blends. The composition includes malt and grain spirits with the addition of natural caramel, which gives the drink an amazing color and aroma. The whiskey’s creator began his career in the winemaking business rather late – at almost 30 years old. However, his persistence and passion for the process allowed him to open his own distillery and produce high-quality alcohol. James Buchanan’s products were appreciated by the British court and served at the Japanese emperor’s table. Today, 1.5 million cases of whiskey are sold annually, with the recipe remaining unchanged. The simple and elegant logo, featuring a layered inscription, emphasizes that the product needs no special introduction.

Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky

Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey

Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey Logo

The honey-smoky flavor of this rye-based drink is immediately memorable and captivating. That’s why it enjoys great popularity in American bars and is a sales leader. The creator of the alcohol is believed to be an innkeeper named Bulleit, who founded the production in 1830. However, today’s producers use a recipe from a descendant of the innkeeper, which is only similar to the original. The founder never returned after a shipment of goods, taking the recipe with him. All that remains in the memory of him is a logo reminiscent of an inn sign. The richness and uniqueness of the taste are the results of a high percentage of rye raw materials and a long resting period for the spirit, reaching up to 8 years.

Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey

Canadian Club Whiskey

Canadian Club Whisky Logo

Canadian Club whiskey is a classic Canadian drink based on rye. It was first produced by a Detroit immigrant who founded a distillery in Windsor in 1858. Good aging and strength, along with a rich aftertaste, set the whiskey apart from other alcohols. However, the drink became Canada’s “face” on the international level by accident. The creator planned to name his creation after his own part. But officials wanted all registered products made in Canada to bear its name. So the brand became known as Canadian Club. The smooth lines of the logo indicate the softness and balanced taste that customers love, both in the country of production and beyond.

Canadian Club Whisky

Chivas Regal

Chivas Regal Logo

The drink is named after the brothers who owned a delicatessen in Scotland, supplying products even to the royal court. In 1801, they added their own premium whiskey to the assortment, which was quickly appreciated by wealthy clients.

The brothers introduced innovations at every stage of production: from a special blend for malt drying to the unusual shape of the stills. As a result, they obtained soft and aromatic alcohol, unlike any other brands.

The Chivas lineup emphasizes the blending of spirits with the same aging period. 12 is the classic variant, but there are also Chivas 18 and even 25. The drink and its visual symbol convey the spirit of Scotland. The logo’s depiction of a heraldic shield with crossed pikes hints at royal regalia and service to nobility.

Chivas Regal

Crown Royal Canadian Whisky

Crown Royal Canadian Whisky Logo

Canadian Crown Royal is truly a royal drink. Its noble origin is evident in everything: from the amber-colored alcohol swirling in the vessel to the bottle design featuring a logo with a monarch’s crown. The brand was indeed developed to be served at a royal table. The owner of the Seagram distillery presented a bottle to King George IV as a gift.

To meet the high standards, the whiskey is prepared with great care and adherence to all standards, and each bottle is packaged in a velvet purple cover – a symbol of power and wealth.

The drink is a blend of 50 whiskey varieties made from raw materials from different corners of Canada. The alcohol is filled with the country’s flavor and presents a wealth of tastes and aromas woven into one bouquet.

Crown Royal Canadian Whisky


Dewar’s Logo

The year 1846 marks the appearance of this whiskey. The drink was no exception and was named after the blender which worked on it. However, the approach to sales was innovative. The whiskey was poured into glass bottles with the author’s signature and sold by a traveling salesman. This “hands-on” approach made alcohol popular.

Later on, the quality of the spirit was appreciated, and it was actively purchased first in Great Britain, then in Europe, and finally in America. It cannot be said that Dewar’s whiskey stood out for any unique or distinctive taste qualities. It was simply a good whiskey. However, the owner’s ability to sell the product contributed to the increased demand.

The creator’s sons used everything from hiring actors who visited bars and demanded Dewar’s whiskey, causing a scene when they didn’t get it, to musicians who attracted customers to sales points.

Nowadays, such marketing tactics are no longer necessary – the brand is well-known everywhere. Each bottle stands out with its memorable, uniquely designed logo.


Evan Williams Bourbon Whiskey

Evan Williams Bourbon Whiskey Logo

The light, marmalade-vanilla bourbon is named after the famous Irish social and political figure who was passionate about distilling spirits. His blend of corn, wheat, and malt became a popular whiskey produced in Kentucky. After emigrating to the United States, Williams opened a distillery in 1783. Initially, the winemaker wanted to use the techniques common in Ireland but later adapted them to local raw materials. Today, the brand is considered a classic bourbon. Everything from the logo to the packaging speaks to the drink’s American roots.

Evan Williams Bourbon Whiskey

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky Logo

Fireball Cinnamon is not exactly whiskey. It is a whiskey-based liqueur from Canadian producer Sazerac with a strength of 33 degrees. It tastes like candy with added cinnamon. The recipe was developed in the late 20th century, but until the current owner bought the technology, the alcohol was little known. After a name change and a new approach to advertising, popularity skyrocketed. In just two years, from 2011 to 2013, sales increased from $2 million to $61 million. The liqueur is consumed with and without ice and is used in cocktails. It has a hot, burning, and spicy taste that warms and improves circulation. No wonder the logo features a fire-breathing dragon in mid-leap. That’s the sensation after the first sip of the drink.

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

Four Roses Bourbon

Four Roses Bourbon Logo

A beautiful legend surrounding this whiskey’s name attracts potential buyers, while its pleasant taste turns them into loyal customers. Once, a passionate young man fell in love with a beautiful young woman. She was capricious and paid no attention to his sufferings. However, after persistent courtship, she finally agreed to dance with him at a ball on one condition: the lover had to weave a belt of roses and present it to her at the event. The young man wove it and replaced the wilting roses for four days to ensure the adornment looked fresh and beautiful at the ball. This act caught his beloved’s attention, and eventually, he married her.

Some say the story is about the brand’s owner, Paul Jones, who bought the formula from the drink’s creator, Rufus Rose, and made the whiskey popular. But the legend was just a marketing ploy, as the alcohol’s name likely came from the founder’s last name, and the number four represented the four family members (Rufus and his three sons).

The drink’s logo features four beautiful flowers arranged symmetrically, highlighting the taste’s harmony. The whiskey’s multifaceted shades are achieved through five years of aging in cellars at a constant temperature.

Four Roses Bourbon

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Logo

The name of this famous whiskey is also connected to a real person. Interestingly, Jack Daniel was not the brand’s founder, but he put his heart and years into its development and establishment. Therefore, the choice is entirely justified. A poor orphan at 13 years old, he gained incredible wealth when the priest he worked for handed over the entire business to him to focus on spiritual matters.

Jack didn’t hesitate and managed the business so well that he fully justified the giver’s choice. He relocated the enterprise to a more advantageous area, registered the distillery according to all laws, launched marketing campaigns, and improved the filtration process. His young and flexible mind allowed him to devise sales techniques that had never been used before, such as releasing commemorative editions. All his efforts and hard work led to Jack Daniel’s being recognized as the world’s best whiskey at the World’s Fair 40 years later. The brand received this title six more times afterward. This event is reflected in the brand’s logo, which reads “Old No.7”.

Using the purest water from a Tennessee spring gives the drink enhanced smoothness. The whiskey is often called Tennessee whiskey because of its unique, distinctive taste. One of the main production features is filtration through an impressive three-meter layer of sugar maple charcoal. In addition to the regular blend, there are variations with honey and cinnamon.

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jameson Irish Whiskey Logo

Jameson whiskey has been produced for 240 years. The wax seal on the logo immortalizes the name of the first distillery and the surnames of the drink’s creators: John Jameson & Son. The company oversees all stages, from raw material cultivation to bottling. The brand combines rich experience and traditions, reflected in its premium taste. Among Irish whiskies, it is the number 1 drink. It has been awarded over 20 gold and silver medals. The main feature is triple distillation, which results in an increased smoothness with light aromatic notes.

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey

Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey Logo

One of the best-selling bourbon brands, with 40 million liters sold annually. The production of this elite drink began during the settlement of the free lands of Kentucky in the 18th century and has since been perfected through seven generations of the Beam family. Each representative contributed improvements and refinements. As a result, today’s famous whiskey has a significantly more pleasant taste than its first prototype.

The most crucial component is the yeast, which has been preserved and passed on to new batches for decades. Jim Beam developed it at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. That’s why the family product was named in his honor.

In addition to the unique secret yeast recipe, the ingredients include corn (51%), rye malt, and barley malt. The taste of the finished product is influenced by special calcium-rich water, double distillation, and prolonged aging in charred barrels (4 years).

Besides the classic, there are 17 other Jim Beam varieties with added juices and honey.

The whiskey logo reflects pride in its past. The image’s center features an award ribbon and a family seal, confirming the drink’s quality. The founding year of 1795 and a reference to the patented formula are meant to assure the buyer of the whiskey’s quality and the experience of its makers.

Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey

Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky

Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky Logo

The Scotch logo features the creator himself, presenting his product to the customer. It is not Johnnie Walker but his son Alexander, who was responsible for creating and marketing the spirit. His striding figure on the emblem is a playful nod to the manufacturer’s surname. Today, there are many product lines for the brand, but the original recipe, consisting of four spirits from different parts of Scotland, remains the most sought-after and popular. It has a spicy, smoky taste with a strength of 40 degrees.

Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky

Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey

Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey Logo

Another premium drink from the Beam family was introduced in 1992. Jim’s grandson developed the recipe based on the 1898 Penn-Maryland product. Despite the brand’s relative youth, connoisseurs immediately appreciated the resulting bourbon, thanks to its rich woody notes and beautiful amber color – the result of a nine-year aging process in charred barrels.

The name and composition are no less premium and prominent. The 16th US President grew up on Knob Creek Farm. The phrase is also used as the logo, predicting the product’s popularity.

Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey

Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky

Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky Logo

Maker’s Mark bourbon is as old as the distillery in Kentucky where it is distilled. Of all the distilleries from the early 1800s, this is the only one that survived and continues to operate, rightfully bearing the name “a monument to US history.”

In its early years, the whiskey was produced in small batches and sold only in nearby villages. The modern Maker’s Mark, as fans know it, began selling actively in 1958, following Prohibition. Red winter wheat is used in the production process. The bourbon’s strength reaches 45 degrees, giving it a sharp, rich taste and a long-lasting aftertaste of oak and honey.

The whiskey bottle is as unique as its bouquet, designed by the distillery owner’s wife. Thanks to her, the logo featuring the letter S (for the Samuels surname) and the Roman numeral four was created. The latter element is a random mistake, as the designer intended to represent the sixth generation of winemakers.

Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky

Seagram’s 7 Crown American Whiskey

Seagram’s 7 Crown American Whiskey Logo

There are two types of whiskey with the same name. One is produced in America, and the other in Canada. The first one is a blended whiskey, often used in cocktails. It contains 2/3 grain spirits, which results in a weak aroma. Sweet sodas perfectly complement their pure alcoholic taste. Manufactured by Diageo.

The second one is an elite drink with an herbal aroma, blended from bourbons aged for over ten years. The premium taste is also reflected in the logo with a crowned seven.

Seagram’s 7 Crown American Whiskey

Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey

Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey Logo

This product has no analogs and is aimed at people who follow specific types of diets: vegan, keto, and gluten-free. However, even those who follow a regular diet may find it interesting to try. The inventors of this novelty, the Yeng couple, tested the drink in their own bar before mass sales and received many positive responses. SKREWBALL is made from corn with the addition of oil, which gives the alcohol a rich aroma and oiliness.

Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey

Southern Comfort American Whisky

Southern Comfort American Whisky Logo

Southern Comfort is a 35-proof liqueur that has been made from whiskey since 1874. Its creator is a New Orleans bartender named Martin Heron. In addition to whiskey, the drink includes honey, vanilla, lemon, orange, cherries, cloves, and cinnamon. All these ingredients create a very aromatic and sweet combination. Today, there are three variations of the liqueur available: 35, 40, and 50 proof, with distinct additives and an emphasis on whiskey. Although the production no longer belongs to Heron, his name and the drink’s uniqueness are immortalized in the logo, making it one of a kind.

Southern Comfort American Whisky

The Glenlivet Scotch Whisky

The Glenlivet Scotch Whisky Logo

A luxurious single malt whiskey with a multifaceted floral-fruity taste, which emerged at the dawn of the 19th century. The brand owner and creator faced threats from less successful entrepreneurs due to the unique taste and distillery registration. However, he persevered and brought his brand global recognition. Even Prohibition and war could not stop it. The Glenlivet lines are still produced based on the creator’s recipes; some even include spirits many years of age from ancient reserves. The brand’s logo resembles a rare flower, indicating the presence of a floral note unique to the whiskey.

The Glenlivet Scotch Whisky

The Macallan Scotch Whiskey

The Macallan Scotch Whiskey Logo

The word “single malt” immediately attracts the attention of whiskey connoisseurs and enthusiasts. This label only comes with genuine, high-quality alcohol. In this elite drink, the aftertaste features fruit, spices, and coffee. However, Macallan was not always popular.

Production began on rented land in the early 19th century, and it was not until 1868 that the brand became the owner of its own distillery. Alcohol became a famous separate drink even later. For many years, Macallan was used for blending with other well-known brands. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the composition began to be distributed in individual bottles. In memory of its first steps towards independence, the logo features the estate where the land for whiskey production was rented.

The Macallan Scotch Whiskey

Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey

Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey Logo

The name and the logo featuring a turkey appeal to a male audience, emphasizing danger, weaponry, hunting, and prey. Wild Turkey whiskey pairs perfectly with the hunted game and is ideal for a men’s outdoor retreat. The quality of the drink, conceived by the Ripy brothers for real men, is high. The production follows the motto: “twice as good.” Double distillation instead of single, four years of aging instead of the allowed two. Plus, the collection offers various classic and rye whiskey options. Therefore, customers will always find a suitable taste for their mood and occasion.

Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey Logo

Who else could create a whiskey with 200 taste nuances if not a Scot? It was James Crowe who gave the world the famous noble drink, used as a base for mint juleps.

Crowe received a chemical education in Edinburgh, allowing him to make significant changes to the production process. The combination of corn with rye, cypress vats, limestone cellars, and sour mash are just some of the secrets behind the birth of this unique drink. They added new dimensions to the whiskey’s taste, so valued by gourmands.

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey

Questions and Answers


How to choose the right whiskey?

When heading to the store, decide on three main questions.

What type of whiskey do you need?

The most expensive and elite option is single malt. More affordable is a blended malt. Blended whiskey is the cheapest, but its quality is inferior to the previous two.

Which region’s drink are you interested in?

Your choice will directly affect the taste of the alcohol. Even with the same name, products from different countries differ in their production technology. In Ireland, for example, they prefer a triple distillation, while in Scotland, they opt for aging in barrels that previously held other spirits. There are authentic drinks created specifically in each region. So, if you want to try Scotch, choose a Scottish one, and if you’re interested in original bourbon, look for a product from the USA.

How many years of aging are you interested in?

The minimum for whiskey is considered to be three years. A young drink will have a strong alcoholic taste and almost no aromatic bouquet or aftertaste. If the alcohol is over-aged, it will become too bitter and viscous, losing its smokiness. Such transformations occur with Scotch at the threshold of 19 years and with bourbon at ten years. Aging ceases to count after bottling.

Once you have the bottle in your hands, visually assess its contents. The presence of sediment indicates that the drink was not filtered, and the whiskey’s taste will be richer.

How to drink whiskey properly?

Whiskey can be mixed with juice, water, and cola or consumed neat. The optimal temperature is 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). A tulip-shaped glass is used for tasting. Pour a small amount into it and, by swirling, spread the aroma before taking small sips, enjoying the aftertaste.

How to drink bourbon properly?

Original bourbon is consumed undiluted. Young drinks can have ice added to smooth out the alcoholic taste. Aged spirits can be at room temperature. Fill a rocks glass 1/3 full. Hold each sip in your mouth for a moment to capture all flavor nuances.