>>A monthly look at the most promising newcomers in key grocery categories. This month: alcohol

Buyers’ calls for innovation in the alcohol fixture seem to have been answered over the last year as suppliers made a concerted effort to step up their new product development programmes.
Beyond beer, the undisputed champion of the latest round of launches is Baileys Glide.
Diageo’s Cream liqueur-RTD hybrid came out way ahead of its competitors, clocking up 80% distribution by Christmas last year.
As with Michelob Ultra, this figure trailed off, dipping to around 55% in the first three months of 2004. But this has been off-set by a steady rise in repeat purchases with 14% of ACNielsen’s consumer panel who bought it once going back for more.
While niche additions to the market such as Greene King’s Beer to Dine For and Kronenbourg off-shoot Premier Cru have made an impact, gaining peak distribution of 13% and 29% respectively, the biggest success stories in recent months are in two distinct camps.
Anheuser-Busch’s leap into the ‘healthy’ beer market with the low-carb Michelob Ultra proved to be a hit and distribution climbed to 37% by the end of 2003. Since then, although the number of stores stocking the brew has dipped slightly, repeat purchase has grown, with a high of 14% of drinkers buying for at least a second time.
The introduction of Coors Fine Light by Coors has also made a good start, achieving 30% distribution within two months of launching, but it is too early to judge repeat purchase. performance.