Sherry was far from being a favoured festive tipple this Christmas although premium brand Tio Pepe reaped the rewards of new listings with Marks & Spencer.

Total sherry sales rose 1.2% in value to £35m but volume fell 5.3% [Nielsen 12w/e 25 December 2010] after retailers reduced the number of promotions on the drink, according to sherry and wine specialist González Byass.

However, sales of the group's premium dry brand Tio Pepe were up an impressive 21.8% in value to £800k and 13% in volume compared with Christmas 2009. "Tio Pepe has benefited from distribution increases over the past year, most importantly into M&S, whose category team has done an especially good job with the brand this season," said Jeremy Rockett, marketing director at González Byass UK.

"We have also put huge support into the on-trade, which has spilled into sales in the off-trade."