When dining out, consumers that “belly up to the bar” might ask their bartenders for recommendations on a particular brand or cocktail. Today, these bartenders are more likely to be formally trained and highly knowledgeable about the alcohol beverage category and its many diverse brands, says Kevin Moran, president of MetrixLab (U.S.) in a statement.

“Over the past 15 years, we have seen the bartender grow from a job to a profession; from drink slinger to mixologist,” Moran said. Because bartenders engage with an average of 700 customers a week and there are more than 800,000 bartender influencers, “they are able to make or break a brand’s success in the on-premise environment,” he says. 

Now in its 16th year, MetrixLab’s U.S. Bartender Influencer Study asked more than 7,500 bartenders to rank all the major spirits and beer brands by the frequency with which they recommend them to customers.

For the best Overall Spirit, PATRÓN took top honors for the third year, after overtaking Fireball in 2017 and edging out Grey Goose in 2019, the study states. For the second year, Johnnie Walker was the most recommended Blended Scotch, while BACARDÍ Flavors captured the No. 1 spot in Flavor Spirits, overtaking Absolut Flavors.

The following are other study results released: Gin, Bombay Sapphire won the top spot for the second year; in the rum category, BACARDÍ ranked first for the 13th consecutive year; PATRÓN is the No. 1 tequila brand since 2008; Grey Goose scooped up first in vodka; the whiskey segment has seen Jack Daniel’s ranked first for each year of the study; and Corona is the No. 1 beer, narrowly eclipsing Heineken.