Discounting may have been the buzz word this credit-crunch Christmas, but traditional footfall drivers Stella Artois and Baileys held their prices over the 2008 party season.

Although on promotion, the cost of these, and the other two key brands tracked by The Grocer's annual Christmas Pricewatch, were higher in 2008 than in 2007.

Stella Artois maintained an average of 17p per 100ml, compared with a low of 15p in 2007 and the infamous 11p of 2006. Bell's whisky hit a low of £1.37 per 100ml at the beginning of December, but didn't drop as low as 2007 when it hit £1.27 per 100ml. Meanwhile, Hardys Stamp maintained a price of between 58p and 64p - similar to 2007.

Baileys, heavily discounted in previous years, dropped to its 2007 price of £1.30 per 100ml only once over the five-week period. Mostly the cream liqueur maintained its price at £1.40 per 100ml.

Diageo, which owns both Baileys and Bell's, agreed prices on its core brands held up this year. "Based on the data we have reviewed so far we estimate that in-store prices on our core brands were on average 3% higher year-on-year," said grocery channel director Andy Adams.

This isn't to say alcohol escaped the festive price war, however. Early in the season, it accounted for almost a quarter of the 1,602 space deals covered by The Grocer's Promo Dynamic. The number of promotions is dropping now, however. Offers on spirits are down from 214 in the run up to Christmas to 112 now, and beer deals from 98 to 74 over the same period.

Promo Dynamic