Sales: £275.1m (-4.7%)
Despite a record spend on its £1.2m 'Taste the Sunshine' campaign, Britain's biggest wine brand has slipped into decline, falling two places and winding up a slender £3m ahead of closest rival Hardys. In a nod to the wine market's increasing efforts to reclaim margin through premiumisation, Blossom Hill recently launched a new premium range and relaunched its Winemakers Reserve with a 26% price hike.
Sales: £272.6m (+7.4%)
Constellation's exit from the UK has left brands like Hardys, Echo Falls and Kumala under the ownership of Australian private equity firm Champ. Last month saw the business renamed Accolade Wines, and, for now, the brands are showing a healthy increase in value sales. Hardys has kept up its profile by sponsoring C4's Come Dine With Me renewed for another year in February and by launching a 5.5% Moscato.
Sales: £248.9m (+22.6%)
Bud is back, posting impressive sales growth over the past 12 months. "In the past 18 months, consumers have started to fall back in love with it," says AB InBev UK president Stuart MacFarlane. The World Cup was the main driver, with a frenzy of activity before, during and after the tournament, but Bud 66 and, in April this year, the new 'Grab Some Buds' advertising campaign added fresh stimulus.
Sales: £246.8m (+5.5%)
While rival brands have attempted to push cider up the social stratum, Strongbow has been content to occupy the middle ground. Marketing investment increased significantly over 2010 to support the 'Bowtime' campaign, which positions the UK's biggest-selling cider as the working man's refreshment of choice. "That refreshment, that reward for hard graft, that's a great positioning for a brand like this and we see that as something that is relevant today and will be relevant tomorrow," says Stefan Orlowski, managing director of brand owner Heineken UK.
The 'grafters as heroes' message will be further reinforced this summer when Strongbow brings a new platform, 'The Graft and The Glory', to festivals. This will reach more than half a million festival-goers, says Doug Walker, head of off-trade marketing at Heineken UK, and will be heavily supported through high-profile digital activity, including an application on the Strongbow Facebook page inviting Strongbow drinkers to enter the 'Festival Pub Build' 2011. This will allow Facebook users to enter five friends in a competition to earn 'three days of VIP glory for one day's graft' at one of four festivals.
Strongbow's growth is down to more than slick marketing. Walker also flags up "major consumer research", which led to the recent launch of 330ml and 1-litre glass bottles intended to broaden usage occasions. "This means that shoppers can now enjoy Strongbow on more drinking occasions and retailers can demand higher prices for a popular mainstream cider," says Walker.
Sales: £192.3m (+7.1%)
The upward trajectory of the brand since the reincarnation of Arthur Bell on television as an animated character continues unabated, with Bell's remaining the nation's favourite whisky and the second-biggest spirits brand in the top 100. It was one of the brands supported by Diageo's record £47m festive marketing spend in 2010 and will benefit from a £3.5m integrated marketing campaign throughout 2011.
Britain's 100 Biggest Alcohol Brands 2011