Christmas promotions on booze got into full swing at the weekend as a cider brand vied with a lager and two wine brands for the top spot in the activity chart.

Despite pleas from the industry, the major multiples kept up their heavy promotional activity with the category accounting for 23% of the top five featured space offers, recording a total of 120 brands on secondary or featured space promotion at the weekend.

In terms of the top five alcohol brands, Strongbow ended up sharing first place with Foster's, Hardys and Kumala with 21% of space each. It was offered in all five retailers, mainly on x-for-y using pallets and gondola ends.

Foster's was allocated promotional gondola end and pallet space in four of the five retailers, with only Sainsbury's not promoting the brand in this way. Promotional mechanics were x-for-y and save.

The Hardys range was also present in four of the major multiples with Tesco not allocating featured space for the brand. X-for-y and save were the two preferred mechanics used with additional space shared between gondola ends and pallets.

Kumala's featured space offers were recorded in Morrisons and Tesco, using both save and half-price mechanics on gondola ends and pallet displays.

The only spirit brand to reach the top five and taking last place with 18% was Smirnoff. Available in all five retailers, Smirnoff used the 'save' promotional mechanic and was featured on gondola end space in all retailers.

Though it didn't feature in the weekend top five, Carlsberg has batted off competition from other drink brands to maintain its number one place in the year-to-date chart with 26% of space, one point more than last year.

Whether it retains its lead into the new year will become clear when Assosia reviews promotional activity in the alcohol category in more detail next month.