Ale and Champagne drinkers will be paying less for their Christmas tipple this year than they did five years ago.

The average cost of a four-pack of 440ml John Smith’s Extra Smooth across the top five supermarkets was £3.76 this week - one pence less than it would have cost shoppers in 2008 [BrandView]. The price of four 440ml cans of Stella Artois, meanwhile, has risen just 3.3%, from £3.93 five years ago to £4.06 this week.

“The fall in the average price of a pack of John Smith’s Extra Smooth reflects the investment supermarkets are making to incentivise hard-pressed consumers and ‘bring forward’ Christmas shopping this year,” said Martin Porter, off-trade sales director at John Smith’s owner Heineken.

The findings were uncovered by The Grocer’s study of the cost of key Christmas lines over the past five years.

It revealed the average price of the cheapest 75cl bottle of Champagne across the retailers had dropped nearly 10% over five years to £14.19. The news comes as figures show Champagne is losing ground to sparkling wine (see right).