41 (39)
JP Chenet
Sales:
£55.8m Growth: -8.3%

JP Chenet sees its 5.5% abv wines as key to future growth. That aside, activity for the rest of 2012 includes the brand’s first limited-edition packaging and an on-pack competition to win Michelin-starred meals out.

42 (42)
Oyster Bay
Sales:
£51.3m Growth: -6.5%

Sales of Oyster Bay, a pioneer of the distinctive Marlborough-style sauvignon blanc, are down for a second year as competition hits the brand - and new varietals introduced in recent years haven’t rescued growth.

43 (247)
Stella Artois Cidre
Sales:
£50.2m Growth: +1,211%

Some questioned Stella’s leap into cider, but AB InBev shrugged off cynicism - not to mention exploding bottles and a brief shortage of apples - to notch up £50m in retail sales for Cidre in the past year.

The 4.5% abv premium cider’s marketing spend, in the “double-digits” of millions of pounds, can’t have hurt. But Cidre’s taste also impressed drinkers, and it delivered higher repeat purchase rates than any other cider launch in the past five years, and a 46% incremental spend for the beer and cider category [Kantar Worldpanel 22 January 2012].

Now AB InBev is hoping to build on this performance with pear cider. Launched in June, Cidre Pear’s “crisp, sophisticated and refreshing taste” is sold in individual 568ml bottles and six-bottle cases across retail. It will benefit from an integrated marketing campaign for Stella Artois Cidre and Cidre Pear over the coming months.

After Heineken UK’s confirmation that it, too, would be entering the market with Strongbow Pear this month in a bid to broaden the brand’s appeal, it looks like it’ll be Pear Wars this summer. Pear cider is thought under-represented in the UK, according to leading cidermakers - and many are hopeful that the big brands’ activity will breathe life into pear ciders and perries.

44 (48)
Whyte & Mackay
Sales:
£49.7m Growth: +18.3%

Whyte & Mackay has benefited from on-pack promos, and hopes sponsoring the Sahara Force India F1 team - with British F1 driver Paul di Resta as its Global whisky Ambassador - will help drive further growth.

45 (46)
Stella Artois 4%
Sales:
£48.2m Growth: +9%

Lower-strength Stella suffered a heavy sales fall in 2010/11. It’s bounced back, helped by a combination of TV ads and cinema marketing - but it’s worth noting Stella now sells more cider than 4% abv beer.

46 (44)
Lambrini
Sales:
£47.7m Growth: -1.6%

Lambrini suffered a drop in sales despite two major on-pack promotions and a new apple & Blackcurrant variant. Now it plans to focus on recruitment and retention and on raising the profile of its Fruits range.

47 (52)
Teacher’s
Sales:
£47.1m Growth: +18.6%

New packaging has helped give Teacher’s greater standout, says the Highland Cream brand. It is hoping for further growth with a Christmas gift carton - and plans to test an “innovative” pack format later this year.

48 (41)
Banrock Station
Sales:
£45.3 Growth: -17.6%

Accolade blames Banrock Station’s fall on the macro environment and continuing pressure for brands in retail. Expect “a significant marketing campaign” for the core range over the coming year.

49 (50)
Carlsberg Special Brew
Sales:
£43.7m Growth: +6.3%

David Cameron’s coalition has targeted high-strength lagers such as Special Brew, but after severe sales slumps in recent years volumes fell only marginally this time, while value were based on duty hikes.

50 (45)
Namaqua
Sales:
£43.5m Growth: -5.3%

There are two sides to South Africa’s Namaqua. Its three-litre boxes sell for the equivalent of under £5 a bottle, while its Diamond Coast range operates at close to a tenner. Competition is, it seems, tough in both areas.