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Two out of the UK’s top five alcohol brands are wine

Published:  26 May, 2020

Wine has taken two of the top spots as the most purchased alcohol brands in the UK off-trade, with Hardys and McGuigan in second and fourth place respectively.

The data, from Kantar, shows the ‘most chosen’ alcohol brands in the UK off-trade, looking at the point at which the shopper decides to buy one brand instead of another.

Using this approach, wine is holding its place among the beer brands, which fill the other top spots.

Stella Artois is the most chosen alcohol brand in the UK via stores and e-commerce platforms, followed by Budweiser in third place and Strongbow in fifth.

Interestingly, this penetration is specific to the UK and is not reflected at a global level.

In terms of global alcohol brands, the Top 10 Most Chosen Alcohol Brands in the world are all beer.

Across Europe, the most chosen non-beer alcohol brand is Martini, chosen 30 million times across a range of European markets. This is followed by Hardys, chosen 27 million times, and Don Simon.

Don Simon, an offshoot of the orange juice brand, was the first major wine brand to be packaged in 'brick' by owner J. Garcia Carrion, and leads the market in Spain and many Spanish-speaking countries. 

It’s also available in Greece, Belgium and Denmark.

These insights come courtesy of Kantar following last week’s announcement of the Top 50 most chosen FMCG brands globally via retail and e-commerce channels.

According to the data, alcohol doesn’t feature in the Top 50 FMCG list at all.

However, digging a little deeper, Harpers discovered that beer is the first to appear in the list of most sold beverages globally, with beers Heineken and Budweiser coming in 26th and 27th respectively (1 to 25 being soft drink brands.)

These findings shows how important the on-trade is to beverage alcohol globally – something that was pointed out by Edmund Gemmell, head of brand and communications at Kantar.

“Something we need to consider is that these rankings are based on in-store purchasing and taken back into the home,” he said.

“These brands would undoubtedly be bigger if we included the on-trade. But because of this, even the biggest brands like Heineken and Budweiser have low global penetration, which will limit their positioning.

“Also worth noting is that in alcohol, the amount of brands available is huge and there are a lot of local nuances at play here. For example if we look at the Top 20 Beverages brands in the UK, we have Stella Artois in 18th place, whilst in the Netherlands Amstel is 9th and in Spain Mahou is the fourth most chosen beverages brand.”

In other beer news, one of the world’s most popular beer brands, Carlsberg (fifth on Kantar’s most chosen list globally) announced on Friday that it plans to consolidate its UK operations into a joint-venture with brewer and pub operator Marston’s.

The joint venture has raised alarm bells from some in the UK pub and brewer world, as the pressure of Covid-19 begins to signal M&A activity.