Though the origins of gin are in 18th-century Holland, the spirit is inextricably linked to the U.K. The country has a long, occasionally depraved history with gin; at one point the liquor’s reputation in London was so bad that it became known as “mother’s ruin,” owing to the reckless abandon with which it was consumed by women at the time.
The juniper-infused spirit’s repute has slowly improved since then, helped in large part by the highly quaffable gin and tonic cocktail, which was invented by Royal Navy sailors at the height of the British empire. Nowadays, artisanal distillers such as London’s Sipsmith compete with internationally established brands like Beefeater.
The liquor’s popularity is not confined to U.K. shores. While the country itself produces more than 500 gins, there are currently some 6,000 gins in production worldwide. Leading the pack are gins from Spain, South Asia, and beyond. In terms of total sales, Philippines-based Ginebra San Miguel is by some margin the best-selling gin brand in the world, but given that it isn’t classified as an “international” brand, we haven’t included it in this list. Instead, here are the eight best-selling international gin brands worldwide.
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8. Gin Mare
Spanish gin brand Gin Mare launched in 2010 with the aim of producing a gin that would reflect the brand’s Mediterranean heritage. Key to achieving this was its range of Mediterranean-sourced botanicals, including Italian basil, Greek thyme, Turkish rosemary, and Spanish citrus. The gin is made in a former monks’ retreat in the small fishing town of Vilanova.
Scottish-based Hendrick’s gin is renowned for its rose- and cucumber-infused flavor, as well as its unique, apothecary-style bottle. Along with 11 other botanicals, rose and cucumber are included as a nod to traditional British gardens.
Larios is Spain’s best-selling gin and recently expanded to the U.K., a highly competitive market currently worth over $1 billion. The brand has been producing gin according to the London Dry gin recipe for over 150 years, though only under its current name since 1932.
Seagram’s touts itself as America’s Gin, owing to its status as the best-selling gin in the U.S. Founded by Samuel Bronfman in the late 1800s, Seagram’s was first introduced in the U.S. in 1939 — Prohibition, folks — and is today owned by drinks conglomerate Pernod Ricard.
Beefeater’s name refers to the Yeomen Warders guards of the Tower of London, who also famously adorn the gin’s bottle. Now owned by Pernod Ricard, the U.K. brand has been distilling in London since 1876, and its current distillery is one of only nine still operational in the city.
While it originated in London, Tanqueray production moved to Scotland after World War II, when its London distillery suffered massive damage at the hands of Axis bombing. Nowadays, its largest market is the United States, where it is the best-selling imported gin.
2. Bombay Sapphire
The name Bombay Sapphire refers to the Star of Bombay, a 182-carat sapphire from Sri Lanka, which is now on display at the Smithsonian. The precious stone is also the inspiration for the U.K. brand’s iconic blue bottle.
Gordon’s is the oldest brand on this list, having been produced for just shy of 250 years. During this time, Gordon’s cemented itself as the world’s best-selling gin brand. In 2016, it sold 50 percent more gin than closest rival Bombay Sapphire, at 4.62 million versus 3.05 million, nine-liter cases.