The ongoing changing bourbon market is an exciting view of the brands, all of us see, and then based on our personal preferences, purchase. The market not only has boomed, but it has also changed significantly. Brands that were not even available in 1994 are now widespread and have achieved significant market share. We include Tennessee Whiskey in this review to get a thorough knowledge of the marketplace. To analyze the marketplace, we first looked at the sales twenty-six years ago.


In 1994, Jim Beam was the dominant American whiskey, even outselling Jack Daniels by a little less than a full percentage point. Early Times, Ancient Age, Old Crow, and even Ten High had a substantial market share. Here is a view of sales by brand:

Jim Beam23.1%
Jack Daniels 22.2%
Early Times8.2%
Evan Williams6.3%
Old Crow4.6%
Ten High4.0%
Ancient Age3.9%
All other brands27.7%


Fast forward to 2019, and you see a dramatically different picture. The most notable change is that the other brand’s percentage has increased to 29.3%. The percentage change is an immediate acknowledgment of the increase in the number of brands that have entered the market. Jack Daniels’s percentage has stayed steady at 22.2%, while Jim Beam has dropped to 17.6%. However, the most meaningful differences are the brand changes that have occurred within the list. Here is a review of the 2019 sales percentages.

Jack Daniels22.2%
Jim Beam17.6%
Evan Williams10.9%
Maker’s Mark7.9%
Woodford Reserve3.3%
Wild Turkey2.9%
All other brands29.3%

Notable takeaways

Bulleit bourbon first began to be widely distributed in 1991. It had made a surprisingly rapid market impact in a short time.

In 1996, Woodford Reserve was introduced and has made an impact and continues to grow.

Bourbons that were large sellers but considered low cost are mostly absent from the list. They include Ten High, Ancient Age, Early Times, and Old Crow. While each of these brands is still top 25 in sales, they have been trending down in popularity and, subsequently, sales.

As of 2019, here is a rundown of the top 25 sales leaders by brand and the company that owns them.

1Jack DanielsBrown Forman
2Jim Beam  Beam Suntory
3Evan WilliamsHeaven Hill
4Maker’s Mark Beam Suntory
5Bulleit Diageo N.A.
6Woodford ReserveBrown Forman
7Wild TurkeyCampari America
8Knob CreekBeam Suntory
9Early Times Brown Forman
10Gentleman Jack Brown Forman
11Ten High   Sazerac
12Basil Hayden’sBeam Suntory
13Ancient Age Sazerac
14Old CrowBeam Suntory
15Four RosesKirin
16Old Forester Brown Forman
17Ezra BrooksLuxco
18Heaven HillHaven Hill Brands
19Buffalo TraceSazerac
20Elijah CraigHeaven Hill Brands
21George DickelDiageo N.A.
22Kentucky TavernSazerac
24Old CharterSazerac
25LarcenyHeaven Hill Brands
Jim Beam Bourbon products
Jim Beam continues to be the brand leader in bourbon sales

Effect of Covid 19

Despite the ongoing pandemic, whiskey sales have continued to grow. There has been a popular trend to purchase established brands such as Jack Daniels and Jim Beam. However, there are also meaningful sales in the premium category. Bottles that retail for more than forty dollars are seeing substantial sales numbers. Please note that the brand Early Times has been sold by Brown Forman to the Sazerac Company.

The changing bourbon market will continue to evolve as new brands enter the market and historic brands such as Old Tub by Beam Suntory return. It will be interesting to watch for the next 20 years!