?Innovation in fortified wine is truly overdue and Constellation has created a distinctive, niche product for the adventurous drinks enthusiast. Rubis is smooth and warming and will appeal to sherry drinkers, particularly those with a chocolate weakness. It could work as a party novelty for special occasions at room temperature or over ice. It is well presented in a tall, slim 50cl bottle, but at £5.99 it may be perceived as expensive. The key to success will be to drive trial through price promotion and offer value for money.
John Taylor, head of buying - impulse, MBL
?Rubis is an interesting alternative to Baileys. The packaging was elegant but I would only pick it up if there were a description on the shelf or a promotion. I am not keen on the name because it makes me think of ruby port but once I opened the bottle the smell was lovely. The drink did not taste as chocolatey as the smell - but this was good, as it had just the right amount of chocolate. I tried it on a Christmas evening with dessert and it was very nice but it would be great on ice in front of a log fire.
Jennifer Harrington, retired, Exton, Devon
stinger ale Company: Hall & Woodhouse Launch price: £1.89 Today's price: £1.89 Acid test verdict: 34/50
Sales have been strong for Stinger through independents and its website. However, the brewer's agreement with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage prevented it from selling the product through multiples - a factor that presented a challenge as demand grew. This year, the brewer plans to target off-licences because it believes these stores have a great opportunity to offer a strong brand without supermarket competition. Stinger has just been listed with Musgrave, as well as Budgens and Londis.