Sources: The Drinks International Millionaires Club report 2011, various.
List Notes: Sales are for the year 2010 in millions of 9-litre cases. Percent change is from the year 2009. List last updated on January 23, 2012.
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The word Brandy comes from the Dutch word brandewijn, ("burnt wine").
The dynamic Indian market was the driving force
behind growth in the brandy category in 2008. The
smaller brands all progressed, partly at the expense
of the country's (and world's) leading brand
McDowell's which despite this still has a 51% market share in India.
Brandy is distilled from fermented fruit juices and is
usually aged in oak casks. The colour of brandy comes
either from the casks or from caramel that is added.
Brandy dates back to the seventh century when Arab alchemists explored boiling and burning fruits, such as grapes, in order to create medical concoctions.
Brandy is rated on a system that allows consumers to know the age and quality of the liquor and is often found near the brand name on the bottle. For example, "A.C." means the brandy has been aged in wood for two years while "V.S." stands for "very special" and means this type has been housed for at least three years. A "V.S.O.P." rating stands for "Very Special Old Pale" and indicates that it has been matured for five years, and "X.O." (Extra Old) has been aged for a minimum of six years. Finally, the oldest brandies bear the labels of "vintage," which means it is aged until bottling, and "Hors D'age" is so old that an age determination cannot be made.