Russian Standard

41 (54) Russian Standard

Sales: £62.6m Growth: 44.8%

Russian Standard, which claims to be the world’s bestselling Russian premium vodka, has put in a stellar performance this year.

Distilled and bottled in St Petersburg, and distributed in the UK by Whyte & Mackay, its performance was driven by its credentials as an “authentic, superior quality” spirit, supported by investment in promotions and integrated marketing.

It’s a combination that has helped make the UK Russian Standard’s largest international market, with volume sales of half a million nine-litre cases in 2012.

“Brand credibility and continued investment over many years have helped Russian Standard consistently outperform the vodka category in all channels,” said a spokesman for the business. “We have in the past 12 weeks seen accelerated growth.”

The investment is continuing this summer with a £7m UK push, including a TV campaign running now. The activity also includes a stronger focus on social media, a new website due to launch next month, price-marked packs and sponsorship of two of the Lovebox and Wilderness festivals.

And the summer marketing push is set to be followed by another multimillion investment this winter.

42 (45) Whyte & Mackay

Sales: £59.4m Growth: 18.5%

Clearance for Diageo’s acquisition of a stake in owner United Spirits may require Diageo to sell on some or all of Whyte & Mackay’s Scottish distilleries. The brand sponsors the Force India F1 team.

43 (38) High Commissioner

Sales: £57.9m Growth: -8.7%

The UK’s fifth-bestselling Scotch, and a mainstay of ‘affordable’ spirits, is vulnerable to Scotland’s proposed minimum pricing legislation, which could increase its price by more than 50%.

44 (41) J P Chenet

Sales: £53.7m Growth: -7%

Chenet’s performance has been as skew-wiff as its bottles. The brand hopes the launch of the premium, 5.5% abv Fashion range (designed to compete with fruit-based ciders) will stop sales turning sourer.

Corona Extra

45 (55) Corona

Sales: £53.5m Growth: 24.1%

Riding the world beer boom, Mexican import Corona goes from strength to strength, backed by a major outdoor ad campaign, focusing on the ice bucket serve. Last year saw the launch of 710ml sharing bottles.

46 (39) WKD

Sales: £53.5m Growth: -12.4%

Sales were far from WKD in the past 12 months with a dramatic drop in volumes, although SHS Drinks has pledged to invest in “heavyweight support” in 2013, with WKD Orange and WKD Green rolling out this month.

47(47) Courvoisier

Sales: £53.2m Growth: 8.1%

Courvoisier’s efforts to make cognac a hip and trendy drink are paying off, with impressive sales growth. Maxxium is now focusing on its more premium varieties such as its cocktail-focused Exclusive and XO.


48 (56) Heineken

Sales: £47.7m Growth: 14.8%

Whether it’s as Official Lager of London 2012, its notorious role in Skyfall, or ongoing support for the Champions League and Heineken Cup rugby, sponsorship is getting Heineken noticed.

49 (52) Three Barrels

Sales: £46.7m Growth: 5.7%

Three Barrels is continuing to pursue younger drinkers by promoting its versatility in cocktails and as a food accompaniment. It has also developed new packaging to bring the brand up to date.

50 (49) Martini

Sales: £45.6m Growth: -4.3%

Barcardi Brown-Forman Brands is “reinventing” Martini in the UK in a bid to revive sales, splashing out £1.5m on Royal events and special limited-edition bottles to mark the vermouth’s 150th anniversary.