Biggest brands: Top 10 Alcohol Brands

Wine is the nation's top at-home tipple, driven by promotions and a 'demystification' process. Jane Simms reports WINE - £1910m-£1915m

Wine has extended its lead at the top of the alcohol sector. Its 17% sales growth has been driven by supermarket promotions prompting people to trade up to more expensive labels, range expansions and provision of guides on taste and food compatibility.

This deliberate 'demystification' of an upmarket category means that wine, traditionally purchased primarily by over-40s with money to spend on it, is tempting a growing number of younger drinkers.

Nine of the top 10 wines come from the New World, as a result of strong branding and a consistent quality, flavour and taste that has helped smash the traditional snobbery that characterised much wine-drinking. Australian wines overtook French wines in value terms this year.

Blossom Hill is the category leader. With growth of 41%, its strength is its attractiveness to 'newer' wine buyers, as it is comparatively cheap.

Jacob's Creek, the number two brand, has a broad range of brands and price points, with new wine drinkers entering with a £3-£4 bottle before trading up. Both Blossom Hill and Jacob's Creek have benefited from sponsorships, the former of Channel 4's Will & Grace, the latter of Friends and Wimbledon.

The fastest-growing brand was boxed wine Namaqua, whose sales rose 137%, albeit from a low base, on the back of strong promotion. The biggest faller was Kumala, which experienced a 15% slump.

BEER AND LAGER - £1805m-£1810m

Euro 2004 helped June record the highest supermarket sales peak for beer and lager outside Christmas for three years, pushing the category to 12% annual growth. Heavy promotions in Tesco and Asda, particularly on 24-packs, fuelled the trend.

An increase in premium lager sales indicates that consumers are taking advantage of discount pricing by trading up, with brands such as Stella Artois, Carlsberg Export and Budweiser the beneficiaries. Carlsberg grew 33% and Carlsberg Export 27%, way ahead of the market - helped in part by the brand's sponsorship of the England football team. Budweiser saw the biggest brand growth, with 36%.

With lager accounting for 60% of this category, Guinness is the sole non-lager brand in the top 10, up 27% on the back of its sponsorship of the England rugby team, its 'Out of darkness' campaign and the success of Extra Cold last summer.

Indeed, the 2003 heatwave acted as a spur to the market, prompting more outdoor drinking occasions, such as barbecues. However, last autumn's Rugby World Cup had only a slight effect on grocery multiples' beer and lager sales - possibly because viewers congregated in pubs to watch the games.

Stella Artois continues to dominate the category, growing in line with the market. The one brand that suffered a significant sales decline was Beck's, down 14%, due to a lack of promotions.

SPIRITS - £1385m-£1390m

Despite its high value, the spirits category's growth, at 5%, is significantly lower than wine or beer and lager, largely due to the more seasonal appeal of spirits brands and low purchase frequency.

The category had mixed results. While Bell's Scotch Whisky tops the table following a 14% rise in sales, its nearest whisky rivals, The Famous Grouse and Teachers, experienced 8% and 12% slumps respectively.

There are five whisky brands in the top ten, which is surprising given its narrow appeal compared with spirits that have launched ready-to-drink (RTD) line extensions. Baileys, the number two brand, for example, has introduced RTD Glide and Minis, both of which are performing well and could have a positive long-term effect on the brand.

Rival RTDs Bacardi Breezer and Smirnoff Ice declined, though, as drinkers have migrated to beer and lager or possibly their mother brands. Indeed, Smirnoff Red grew by an impressive 26%, thanks in part to a £3m ad campaign and packaging that focuses on the drink's Russian heritage.

The biggest challenge is to increase the category's appeal to younger consumers and home drinkers, says a TNS Superpanel analyst. 'Spirits drinking tends to be an on-trade occasion. Manufacturers must get to grips with the off-trade market; this is where the drinks market as a whole is heading.'


Rnk Brand Value %

(pounds m) chng

1 Blossom Hill 75-80 41

2 Jacob's Creek 60-65 18

3 Ernest & Julio Gallo 60-65 15

4 Stowells of Chelsea 60-65 -1

5 Hardys Banrock Station 50-55 30

6 Lindemans 45-50 -6

7 Kumala 45-50 -15

8 Hardys Stamp 40-45 -7

9 Namaqua 35-40 137

10 Hardys Varietal 35-40 71

Source: TNS Superpanel


Rnk Brand Value %

(pounds m) chng

1 Stella Artois 305-310 11

2 Carling 145-150 22

3 Grolsch 95-100 -1

4 Foster's 90-95 30

5 Budweiser 75-80 36

6 Carlsberg 70-75 33

7 Carlsberg Export 70-75 27

8 Kronenbourg 1664 65-70 6

9 Guinness 40-45 27

10 Beck's 35-40 -14

Source: TNS Superpanel


Rnk Brand Value %

(pounds m) chng

1 Bell's Scotch Whisky 80-85 14

2 Baileys 70-75 6

3 Smirnoff Red Vodka 65-70 26

4 The Famous Grouse 60-65 -8

5 Grant's Vodka 50-55 -7

6 Bacardi White Rum 50-55 3

7 Gordon's Gin 50-55 28

8 Teachers Scotch Whisky 45-50 -12

9 Grant's Scotch Whisky 40-45 7

10 Bruce & Co Scotch Whisky 35-40 1

Source: TNS Superpanel


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