Interbrew claims Stella Artois is now the country's third bestselling grocery product ­ having overtaken Nescafé for the first time. Data from leading market researcher ACNielsen released by the brewer shows its premium lager generated sales worth £320m in the year to June. Only Coca-Cola and Walkers are now said to be worth more than Stella. The figures released by Interbrew are all the more startling because earlier this month ACNielsen published data showing the coffee brand still had the edge over Stella in the 12-month period to the end of April. Interbrew has consistently supported Stella and has backed it this year with a £25m marketing package led by TV ads and the Stella Screen film activity. Development of the brand has also featured a wide range of pack variants designed to give all the trade channels different offerings and price points. All this has led to very rapid growth, said Interbrew. Four years ago, annual sales of Stella topped £100m for the first time and it became one of the top 25 grocery brands. Last year it went through the £300m sales barrier and accounted for 30% of the total premium lager business. The latest ACNielsen value figures also show Stella to still be growing by 16.6%, against a premium packaged lager market up just 6.6%. Interbrew sales director Steve Kitching said: "This dramatic success highlights the trends shaping the beer market, where big brands and premium categories are becoming more important." {{DRINKS }}