Tequila and Vodka Boast Most Devoted Fans

By Will Godfrey 09/13/11

A list of 2011's most loyally-bought brands sees hard liquor heavily represented in the top 100.

Blind loyalty? Photo via

Hard liquor induces hard loyalty, according to the 2011 Annual Loyalty Leaders list recently released by brand research consultancy Brand Keys. You wouldn't have thought that selling an addictive product would hurt your efforts to keep customers coming back—and sure enough, after 528 brands across 79 industry categories were examined, 13 of the top 100 turned out alcoholic. Perhaps more surprising is the dominance of tequila and vodka. Tequila's representatives are high-flying Patron (ranked no. 9), Don Julio (29), Sauza (41) and Jose Cuervo (81). Vodka, meanwhile has no fewer than eight top 100 brands: Grey Goose (15), Ketel One (17), 3-Olives (43), Stolichnaya (45), Chopin (51), Rain (63), P. Diddy's favorite Ciroc (65), and Skyy (69). Could it be that when buying the kind of liquor that really packs a punch, drinkers are less likely to risk experimenting with unfamiliar labels? Alcohol's overall strong showing is nothing new however: “While it’s tempting to blame this appearance on the pressures of the economy, alcoholic beverages have shown up at the top regularly,” said Brand Keys executive vice president Amy Shea. As she noted, beer makes a relatively weak appearance, with Sam Adams (no. 58) alone in the top 100—perhaps partly due to Americans' increased calorie-consciousness. Brand Keys interviewed a representative sample of adults, using psychological and category assessments to reach its conclusions. At the top of the list, Amazon knocked Apple into second place, with Facebook taking bronze. "Brand loyalty has always been driven by emotion," said Brand Keys founder Robert Passikoff. And there's nothing that produces emotion like a drop of the hard stuff.

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of Substance.com, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.