Stellar sales of sparkling wine have brought Martini back into year-on-year growth for the first time in eight years.

Brand owner Bacardi Brown-Forman said volume sales of the overall Martini brand had grown 12.5% between April 2011 and March 2012, with sales of its sparkling wine up 51% in the off-trade over the past year as shoppers opted for cheaper alternatives to Champagne [Nielsen 52w/e 28 April 2012].

The company is now looking to use sparkling wine to revive the fortunes of its vermouth - which accounts for 45% of brand sales in the off-trade - but declined 4.2% by value to £21.2m and almost 10% by volume.

It’s best-performing off-trade vermouth - Martini Bianco - is being used as part of a new signature drink, Martini Royale, which combines a 50:50 mix of the vermouth with Martini Prosecco.

“Bianco has an accessible, fresher taste and prosecco is a hot trend,” said marketing director Liam Newton. “By combining the two we can bring new people into the brand - we expect it to lead the growth for Martini.”

Martini Prosecco bottles will carry a neck collar from mid-July featuring a Martini Royale recipe and a QR code directing shoppers to a YouTube demonstration of how to make it. The collar will also have a coupon offering £1.50 off Martini Bianco.

Martini Prosecco and Rose wines have grown 225% by volume and 220% by value to £11.7m year-on-year, while Asti increased by 1.6% by volume and 6.7% by value to £14.4m [Nielsen 52w/e 28 April 2012].