When marketers strategize how to brand and sell different liquors, the birthplace of the spirit often plays a starring role. Marketers fill rum commercials with Caribbean beaches, whisky commercials with Scotsmen and Irishmen, and vodka commercials with comrades and beautiful Russian women.

In a global marketplace, of course, the actual consumers may look nothing like the brand being promoted – a fact demonstrated by this infographic from The Economist that shows the consumption by country of the world’s most popular spirits:

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Source: The Economist

Russians still drink the most vodka. But who would have guessed that Indians imbibe more rum than the people of any other country? (In total – not per person.) This author surmised that Britain may still lead the world in gin consumption given his English roommates’ penchant for gin and tonics. The Philippines, however, are the surprise winner – an outcome The Economist attributes to good marketing and the fact that the maker of the two top-selling brands of gin has operated in the country since 1834.

Given its size, China’s absence is conspicuous from these rankings. As The Economist explains, that is because China’s national spirit, baijiu, accounts for 99.5% of Chinese liquor consumption. One alcoholic area in which China’s size and rising incomes are having an impact is fine wine. Since the mid 2000s, when China’s nouveau riche began purchasing fine wine in earnest, the price of the world’s 50 most expensive vintages has more than tripled. China’s impact can be seen in the below graph of an index of the world’s 50 most expensive bottles.

chart, line chart

Source: Liv-ex

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