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Biggest brands: Top 10 alcohol brands
[August 22, 2007]

Biggest brands: Top 10 alcohol brands

(Marketing Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Good weather bolstered the wine and beer categories, but consumers continued to desert the spirits sector.

WINE - POUNDS 3.2bn (+8%)

Wine is the biggest sector in the alcohol market, accounting for a 37% share of total spend. Value sales grew by 8% in the year to 22 April - almost double the rate for the alcohol market as a whole, which grew at just under 5%. Wine's strong performance in supermarkets has been fuelled by a combination of higher base prices, consumers trading up to more expensive wines and good weather.

Hardys is the market leader, but E&J Gallo, which has taken the number-two spot from Blossom Hill, is snapping at its heels. It entered the overall top 50 ranking with a sales rise of 35% to nearly pounds 140m. E&J Gallo's rebranding of its core range under the Gallo Family Vineyards umbrella, intended to boost on-shelf recognition, appears to have paid off.

By contrast, Blossom Hill posted a 5% sales decline, following the previous year's prodigious growth of 37%. The drop occurred despite the overhaul of its Single Varietals range. However, the brand's status as the official wine at Wimbledon could boost sales again if the 22% growth of its predecessor at the Championships, Jacob's Creek, is anything to go by. The latter grew 22% after relaunching in 2006. Stowells, which also revamped itself, did not fare so well, falling 19%.


SPIRITS - POUNDS 2.3bn (-1%)

Vodka, sales of which have increased by 6% this year, was the only area of growth in the spirits sector this year. It is benefiting from its versatility with mixers, as ready-to-drink brands enter a period of decline.

Category leader Diageo's Smirnoff Red has capitalised on this trend, and though 100,000 fewer households bought it last year, its sales grew by 5% based on consumers purchasing greater volumes, more frequently and at a higher price. Last year, the brand ran a promotion aimed at women, offering the chance to win one of 10 diamonds, each worth pounds 10,000 It was backed by a national TV, press, PR and point-of-sale campaign.

Two other Diageo brands, Baileys and Gordon's, fared less well. As part of a pounds 2.5m campaign ahead of the Christmas sales period, Gordon's sponsored Channel 4's Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and ran TV ads by Bartle Bogle Hegarty that introduced the strapline 'Gordon's - the G in G&T'. Yet its sales declined by 14%, largely due to fiercer competition from own-label brands: sales of gin in Asda rose 42%, in Waitrose by 30% and in Morrisons by 24%.

Similarly, despite trying to broaden drinking occasions, Baileys' sales have fallen 16%, as the brand struggled to stay relevant.

BEER & LAGER - POUNDS 2.2bn (+9%)

The effect of last year's football World Cup, combined with a hot summer, has driven up sales of beer and lager by 9% over the past year, with Carling, Foster's and Carlsberg all enjoying growth of nearly 30%. The key sales period was the first week of the tournament, which saw the highest weekly beer sales ever recorded outside the Christmas period. Sales were fuelled in particular by a three-day promotion in Asda, offering three packs of 18 cans or more for pounds 22.

Foster's posted the biggest growth, at 31%. More than 3m people now buy the brand, and average volumes per shopping trip have also risen, much of it as a result of regular big-pack promotions in the big four supermarkets.

More than 500,000 additional shoppers have been buying Carling this year, which has turned its 11% sales decline of last year into growth of 26%. Unlike Foster's, much of its growth has come from smaller packs as it seeks to move away from the deep-discount offers on bigger packs favoured by the multiples. Additional growth came from the introduction of C2, a low-alcohol variant, launched last September and backed by a pounds 3m TV campaign by Beattie McGuinness Bungay.

TOP 10 WINE

Rnk Brand 2007 2006 Change
(pounds m) (pounds m) (%)

1 Hardys 160-165 175-180 -7
2 E&J Gallo 135-140 100-105 35
3 Blossom Hill 110-115 115-120 -5
4 Jacob's Creek 70-75 60-65 22
5 Banrock Station 60-65 60-65 2
6 Stowells of Chelsea 55-60 70-75 -19
7 Kumala 55-60 90-95 -36
8 Lindemans 40-45 30-35 31
9 Echo Falls 40-45 25-30 55
10 Namaqua 40-45 30-35 24

Source: TNS Worldpanel

TOP 10 SPIRITS

Rnk Brand 2007 2006 Change
(pounds m) (pounds m) (%)

1 Smirnoff Red Vodka 95-100 90-95 5
2 The Famous Grouse 80-85 75-80 7
3 Baileys 80-85 95-100 -16
4 Bell's Scotch Whisky 75-80 75-80 -1
5 Gordon's Gin 60-65 70-75 -14
6 Grant's Vodka 55-60 50-55 18
7 Bacardi White Rum 50-55 50-55 1
8 Teacher's Scotch Whisky 45-50 50-55 -9
9 Grant's Scotch Whisky 40-45 40-45 0
10 Three Barrels Brandy 25-30 25-30 13

Source: TNS Worldpanel

TOP 10 BEER

Rnk Brand 2007 2006 Change
(pounds m) (pounds m) (%)

1 Stella Artois 320-325 310-315 2
2 Carling 170-175 135-140 26
3 Foster's 140-145 105-110 31
4 Carlsberg 120-125 100-105 20
5 Carlsberg Export 90-95 70-75 28
6 Budweiser 80-85 80-85 4
7 Grolsch 80-85 75-80 5
8 Kronenbourg 1664 70-75 65-70 5
9 Carlsberg Special Brew 50-55 55-60 -8
10 John Smith's Extra Smooth 45-50 35-40 23

Source: TNS Worldpanel

Copyright 2007 Haymarket Business Publications Ltd, Source: The Financial Times Limited

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