The Drinks List: Top 100 Brands

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

The Drinks List: Top 100 Brands

Related tags Brand management Brand Cider

Drinking habits are changing as consumers are faced with more choice than ever, but in The Morning Advertiser's Drinks List: Top 100 Brands, there is a positive story showing a healthy mix of the long-established mainstream brands sitting alongside newer ones.

See The Drinks List: Top Brands To Stock 2018

Arguably less is being drunk out-of-home, but consumers are sticking to the well-known brands as well as turning more to premium and craft products, which shows in our inaugural list.

Out there in the trade, we’re often told, it is a real less-but-better story when it comes to alcohol consumption. But despite this, our research has shown the stalwarts of the trade are still dominating the market, as consumers continue to turn to long-established and trusted brands.

Bring in new trade

So, equipping your bar with well-known brands that people expect to see in any pub is essential – the mainstream lagers and spirits, for instance. But offering something different in the way of craft, local or premium drinks is a good option to have to either up-sell or bring in new trade.

That said, it is a minefield out there, with so much to choose from. Brands and products in pubs have never been as plenty or more important to your business than they are now.

A brand to a consumer is an identity, it shows their peers who they are, what they’re interested in and what they can afford. It also says a lot about your venue, including what sort of cliental you have or desire.

Clearly visible

These days it is unrealistic for most operators to bank on big brands alone to keep customers interested. Complimenting a range of core products with premium and niche ones is the way forward, which is clearly visible in the Drinks List​.

We could have published a list based on sales performance alone, but that isn’t helpful to you, the operators.

Instead, in collaboration with CGA Strategy, we have asked on-trade consumers what they want to see in pubs and have combined this information with sales data to create a list of the brands pubs should consider stocking.

Therefore, the order of the list does not reflect just best-sellers, but what a cross section of on-trade consumers we asked say they would like to see when going into a pub. The methodology used to create the list is at the bottom of this page.

The Drinks List: Top 100 Brands:

100. Kick Energy
Kick Energy is described as the ‘cheap, easy’ energy drink solution by maker Global Brands and has gained decent uptake among consumers in the on-trade since launching in 2008.

Sales have grown by 17% in recent years, widely down to the gaming community, which makes up 68% of UK energy drink consumption. Could this be a market for pubs to cash in on?

99. Budweiser Budvar
Despite relatively little marketing activity over the past 12 to 18 months in the on-trade, Czech lager brand Budweiser Budvar is benefitting from significant growth in the UK trade. Draught sales are growing at 20% and packaged by more than 10%.

98. Portobello Road No 171
As with the majority of premium craft gin brands, Portobello Road is benefitting from the effects of Brits’ refound love of the spirit.

While exact figures can’t be found, the brand is claimed to be the fastest growing premium gin brand in the UK and is witnessing “soaring sales” in 2016.

97. Innis & Gunn Lager
Although Innis & Gunn may be one of Scotland’s smaller brewers (compared with the likes of BrewDog), the business is pushing out interesting and successful products.

More than 1,000 investors bought into the brewer’s beer bonds scheme and more recently Innis & Gunn smashed a £1m crowdfunding campaign in just 72 hours.

96. Hardys Private Bin Rose
Looking at the historical pricing of brands they do one of three things: flat line, dip or increase.

Hardys Private Bin Rose has the privilege of the latter, witnessing a steady price-per-bottle rise of £4.14 in two years. Whether that’s a positive or a negative remains to be seen.

95. Zubrowka Bison Grass
Pronounced “zoo-broov-ka”, Żubrówka Bison Grass vodka draws on more than 400 years of history and is made using rye – typical of Polish vodkas.

Vodka is the stalwart of the spirits category, accounting for 70% of value sales in the on-trade and 32.3% of total value sales in the past 12 months.

94. John Smiths Extra Smooth
Some of the most gratifying alcohol adverts ever, have been created to support Heineken’s John Smith’s Extra Smooth brand over the years, mainly targeting the
‘ordinary man’.

Away from the screen, Heineken encountered criticism for reducing the ABV of Extra Smooth from 3.8% to 3.6% in 2013.

93. Applestiser
Premium soft drinks are rising in popularity – fast. As a result, it’s hard to find a pub not selling a product from this category.

This year was Appletiser’s 50th anniversary and owner Coca-Cola European Partners recruited mixologist Richard Woods to create some noise around the brand with a hardback book of cocktails.

92. Blossom Hill White Zinfandel
After spirits giant Diageo offloaded Blossom Hill from its portfolio in 2015, new owner Treasury Wine Estates set about pumping £2m into new marketing activity.

The ‘share a little loveliness’ campaign, which ran in the warmer months of 2016, was supported by new packaging and a television appearance.

91. Bulmer’s Original
The Morning Advertiser​ recently revealed Bulmers, the world’s biggest cider maker, would be bringing its bottling back to its spiritual home of Hereford.

The brand holds 45.1% of the overall modern cider category. Production is split between two sites – the cider mills in Ledbury and Hereford.

90. Amstel
Last year, Amstel’s on-trade sales grew by 20% and it’s hoping to see fourfold growth in the next five to six years.

The beer has seen volume and value sales rise by 11.2% and 11.1% respectively in the past 12 months. Over the past five years, Amstel has seen double-digit growth.

89. Dark Star Hophead
The popularity of Dark Star’s Hophead is purely organic, with no notable marketing activity carried out by the brewer and pub operator.

Director James Cuthbertson, who is devoting attention to new sites in the wealthy suburbs of London, comments that, despite a lack of marketing, sales of Hophead were up 10% last year.

88. Luxardo Sambuca
Sambuca is having a bit of a tough time, arguably. Year-on-year category volume sales are down 3%.

Luxardo, however, has seen a drop of only 1% in the past 12 months, following a 7% rise in 2015.

87. Carling British Cider
Molson Coors’ Carling British Cider has witnessed a rise in moving annual total sales of 46% in the past 12 months.

This surge in sales has been galvanized by considerable marketing activity, such as the brand’s three-year partnership with the English Premier League.

86. Schweppes Tonic
In the battle of tonic waters, Coca-Cola European Partners’ (CCEP) Schweppes brand is already pulling out the big guns, most notably with a dramatic sleek redesign of the full Schweppes range this year.


The redesign aims to showcase the heritage of the brand, having been founded in 1783, and was supported by a hefty marketing campaign covering point-of-sale, out-of-home and cinema advertising.

A growth in cocktail sales, as well as an uptick in premium spirits and mixers, is said to have resulted in Schweppes’s “rising popularity”.

Total sales of Schweppes mixers rose by 2.2% in volume and 4.2% in value in the past year, according to CCEP.

A spokeswoman said: “More than half of 18 to 34-year-olds regularly drink cocktails and consumers traditionally up their spending during Christmas.”

CCEP has also partnered with global spirits behemoth Diageo to cement its position on the bar, creating 12 Christmas-themed cocktails to boost sales further. 

85. Sipsmith
A regular on the back bar and a brand well-known to consumers, Sipsmith gin is now set to enter the House of Commons.

A week after the Brexit vote, sales of Sipsmith reportedly rocketed by 103%, as Brits came out in support of quintessentially British products.

84. Belvoir Elderflower Presse
On-trade sales for Belvoir are up 6.64% in volume and 8.25% in value for the first the six months to June 2016.

While sales are rising, Belvoir is working to boost its presence in the sector by educating the trade and consumers about new ways to use the liquid.

83. Budweiser 4.3
A loss of distribution has caused Budweiser 4.3’s draught sales to dip by 10.7% in volume and 5% in value.

AB InBev will focus on growing the brand in urban food-led venues, where its sales have increased by 2.2% in volume and 5.9% in value.

82. Patron Silver
Year-on-year sales for Patron Silver’s 100% blue agave Tequila are up 28% in the on-trade and 70% in the off-trade.

A three-year plan will see the agave ingredient become the hero of the brand, as well as the liquid’s diversity in cocktails and long drinks.

81. Absolut Vanilla Vodka
Bars taking a twist on the classic Espresso Martini will be familiar with good vanilla vodkas, such as Pernod Ricard’s Absolut Vanilia. Volume sales of the liquid have increased by 39.3% and it has become, according to PRUK, the number one flavoured vodka in the on-trade.

80. Birra Moretti
Few brands can boast growth quite so significant as 104.1% in volume and 108.9% in value, yet Heineken’s Birra Moretti is one of those.

Two new beers in the range were launched in June for the Italian restaurant market and the brew has been pushing its Italian credentials.

79. Old Mout Cider Summer Berries
Fruity ciders have taken the fancy of the British public in a big way and Heineken is cashing in with its Old Mout brand, which is currently driving 83% of world cider growth, according to CGA Strategy.

Activating at and targeting festivals has also helped the brand grow its audience.

78. Bacardi Carta Blanca
Keeping it funky with the kids has helped Bacardi Carta Blanca maintain good visibility among a core audience.

Bacardi crata

Roughly 50% of under-35s drink white rum, a hefty chunk of customers, while just 20% of over-55s drink the spirit, which holds 3.7% of value share and 3.7% of volume.

While the spirit has reached number 78 in this list, when talking about the top 10 spirits in pubs by volume sales, it comes in fifth place.

The white rum category as a whole has had a bit of a tough time, with dark, golden and spiced rums taking the limelight a little – growing sales by 40% in volume between 2010 and 2015.

However, a rise in the number of cocktails, including rum-based, could be white rum’s much needed cure. Additionally, Bacardi’s hefty marketing spend on its brands is likely to further raise awareness among consumers looking to get into the rum category.

77. Faustino VII Rioja Tinto
Supplier Matthew Clark says this wine, which has a list price of £9.08 for a 75cl bottle, is lively, with fresh fruit flavours and a subtle touch of oak. Despite Brits loving a nce glass of Rioja, the variety fails to make it into the top five most drunk wines in the on-trade.

76. Havana 3 Year Old
Crushing the white rum decline, Havana Club 3 Year Old witnessed a 4% increase in volume sales last year and saw a similar uptick in the first quarter of this year.

Much of the brand’s growth has come through on-trade activity to promote occasions and experiences among customers.

75. WKD Blue
Arguably more popular in the 1960s and 200s, WKD still commands a 32% volume share and 35% value share of the RTD market. While the past 12 months have been challenging for RTDs, WKD has launched new variants with notable success to fight category decline.

74. Old Speckled Hen
Greene King attributed, in part, recent positive financial results to the good performance of its Old Speckled Hen ale, which had a popularity surge in China.

The brand also launched hard activity for Halloween by changing its pump clip branding to Old Spooky Hen.  

73. Bolla delle Venzeie Pinot Grigio
By bottling grapes young and cool-fermenting them in stainless steel, Bolla achieves a pale straw-coloured liquid that’s dry with a warm perfume of ripe peach and pear. Hints of elderflower and a good mouthfeel as well as soft acidity and a bright, fresh finish.

72. Brooklyn Lager
Carlsberg’s Brooklyn Lager has become something of an icon across the on-trade with its green on black logo.

The US-based brewery is one of the largest and best-known craft beer makers in its home country and, this year, expressed a desire to expand in order to keep up with demand.

71. Chase Vodka
Ask someone to name what vodka is made from and many will say potato, which is what Chase’s vodka is made from.

The brand also makes a cacophony of other varieties including smoked, rhubarb and brandy cask-aged too. But the classic British (yes, British) potato vodka is the variant that’s made this year’s list.

70. Sharps Doom Bar
Doom Bar’s value sales growth of 4.3% in the past year has catapulted the brand to dizzying heights when it comes to the nation’s favourite cask ale.

In the next three years, owner Molson Coors will pump funds into its brewing infrastructure to keep up with rising demand.

69. Meantime Pale Ale
Despite a change of ownership this year, Meantime has managed to maintain its identity as a niche London brewer.

Recent promotional activity took the pale ale brand to six key cities, while its recent Pilot Brewery series saw the launch of dozens of small-batch brews. It also launched an exclusive beer in Mitchells & Butlers.

68. Concha Y Toro Merlot
Merlot is the top wine varietal for UK drinkers, taking £46m in value sales (down 5% year-on-year).

This wine, which is distributed by Concha y Toro, is medium-bodied and smotth with cherry and plum flavours and a hint of pepper spice. Popular in the pub.

67. Martin Millers
Independently owned Martin Miller’s gin made headlines when it announced plans to enter Graphic Bra’s Gin Off competition.

The small-batch pot gin’s iconic bottle is a clear standout on the back bar. Icelandic spring water is used in the distillation process, providing an interesting talking point for gin nuts.

66. Red Bull
Give credit where credit is due; Red Bull dominates the UK’s energy drinks market, with moving annual total value sales up 3% to £161m for the past 12 months.

Volume sales were flat, but the 250ml can remains the largest packaged soft drink in the on-trade, according to CGA Strategy.

65. Camden Hells Lager
Camden Town Brewery’s moment in the spotlight of controversy, when it was bought out by AB InBev, hasn’t dampened sales, which are up 30% year on year.

Plans to promote the full portfolio, including Hells Lager, more in the UK and around the world are already in motion.

64. Diet Coke
Everyone’s undoubtedly had a Diet Coke break at some point, reflected in the brand’s 2.7% volume sales growth for the past 12 months (value sales up 2.2%).

In the months ahead, Coca-Cola European Partners will be pushing Diet Coke’s sugar-free credentials towards customers wanting to live a healthier lifestyle.

63. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
More than a shot in the dark indeed, Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum has used clever new bottle designs and marketing to capitalise on a growing spiced and dark rum audience.

Dark, golden and spiced rum sales shot up by 40% between 2010 and 2015, with experts anticipating wonderful things for the category’s future.

62. Coors Light 4.0%
Coors Light sales were up 28% in 2015, making it the fastest growing lager in the top 100.

New iced fonts in the on-trade have also helped steer more towards the brand.

61. Captain Morgan
As a brand, Captain Morgan ticks all of the boxes with white, spiced (No2), golden, dark and black variants.

Moving annual total sales, therefore, are up by 21% year on year. The old sea dog has also sparked controversy with its marketing and has been hauled before the Advertising Standards Agency several times – everyone loves a rogue though.

60. Jameson
This whiskey is holding on to its title as the number one Irish whiskey brand in the UK and the world, with volume sales up 12% and value sales  up 11%.

The overall objective for owner Pernod Ricard now is to recruit drinkers from the 25 to 34-year-old male demographic with hyper-targeted marketing.

59. Pepsi Max
Few in the trade would doubt there’s something of a war going on between the major cola brands and their sugar-free variants.

Pepsi Max has been pushing its sugar-free credentials hard across all media when it comes to advertising, but what activity will it push in the months ahead?

58. Timothy Taylor Landlord
The beer that gives every landlord a nod of appreciation – Timothy Taylor’s Landlord does that with just its name.

The brewery was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1826 and is now the last independent brewer of its type. The family owners say it is still brewing the same way it did all those years ago.

57. San Pellegrino Aranciata
One of few, perhaps the only, cans with a foil lid on sale in the UK to ensure higher hygiene control.

San Pellegrino Aranciata is the accessible premium fizzy orange soft drink and is found in some of the finest eateries and drinkeries in Britain. There are six flavours in the range, but most outlets sell only two or three.

56. Aperol
It’s no surprise the brand that brought the world the Aperol Spritz saw volume sales grow by 232.6% last year, which owner Campari puts down to the support of leading bartenders.

A focus on the Aperol Spritz (a famous Italian aperitif) in London has helped raise those sales, Campari adds.

55. Strongbow
Strongbow original is in slight decline, but still remains the UK’s number one cider and is responsible for more than a quarter of cider volume sales and 22% of value sales.


The brand was the official partner of Team GB for the Rio 2016 Olympics, which was supported with a multi-million pound marketing campaign.

The ethos behind the Olympics sponsorship was to return the excitement of the London Olympics to the UK public, said Cindy Tervoort, marketing director at Heineken.

The Morning Advertiser​ was taken to an exclusive Strongbow evening at the Official Team GB Clubhouse in London over the summer to celebrate the Rio event, where former GB Olympic champion Daley Thompson was interviewed by Talk Sport’s Colin Murray.

Marketing this year highlighted Strongbow’s British heritage, while Halloween marketing activity in October saw 11,000 point-of-sale activation kits sent out across the on-trade to help operators get their customers into the spooky spirit. 

54. Malibu
On-trade value increased by 1.8% and volume by 0.6%, according to owner Pernod Ricard UK.

A focus on Pina Colada Day earlier this year also helped the brand raise awareness. The ‘Pimped’ Colada cocktail has seen sales grow by 1%.

53. Jack Daniels Gentleman Jack
An impressive 150 years of American whiskey heritage is the main message Jack Daniel’s is pushing out to drinkers, along with the fact the distillery makes all of its own oak casks.

Premium brand Gentleman Jack is marketed towards special occasions. Last year, UK distributor Bacardi Brown Forman Brands rolled out the new double-barreled and double-mellowed expression, Jack Daniel’s No. 27 Gold Tennessee Whiskey.

52. El Jimador Blanco
White Tequila is remaking its name in the on-trade, with bartenders using it cleverly in cocktails more often.

El Jimador Blanco, which is imported to the UK by Brown-Forman, is made using 100% agave and is aged for 40 days before bottling.

51. Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime
Molson Coors’ Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime cider is the sixth biggest packaged cider in the on-trade, with sales up 7.5%.

During the summer, the brand brought its proposition to life with its Midsommarstång experimental marketing campaign.

50. Estrella Damm
Premium lager beer brand Estrella Damm has been brewed in Barcelona, Spain, since 1876 and has risen in popularity in the UK during the past three years.


Last year, the brand became the headline sponsor of prestigious food pub event the Top 50 Gastropubs, establishing its position as the premium lager to drink in gastropubs.

Distributed by Charles Wells, Damm signed an agreement to extend its brewing partnership with the Bedford-based brewer, which will retain the UK sales and distribution rights for the Spanish beer.

UK sales of the beer have risen dramatically by 1,100% under Charles Wells’ management since 2009, according to the distributor.

On-trade sales have risen by 69% since the beer entered the UK, outstripping off-trade sales, which are growing at 58%.

Estrella Damm’s sponsorship of the Top 50 Gastropubs will continue next year, where the list will be revealed at an exclusive lunch at Hermitage Bar & Restaurant, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

49. Carling
Three decades as the UK’s number one 4% ABV lager is not a title Carling is willing to lose anytime soon and will be championing the on-trade further this year.

The brand will also be playing on its long-standing relationship with Sky to boost marketing activity around sports events.

48. Sam Adams Boston Lager
A massive image refresh and packaging redesign has just been rolled out by Samuel Adams – an exercise that has been undertaken to enhance the brand’s craft credentials.

Next year, a new 330ml can will be launched and work to create new flavours and varieties will also take place.

47. Jack Rabbit Sauvignon Blanc
Crisp and delicious fruity flavours of lime and peach come through in this light and zesty Sauvignon Blanc. Other variants in the range include Chardonnay and Shiraz.

46. Fosters
Now Fosters has started to stem its decline in sales (now at just -5%), it will push the beer at major sporting events in the months ahead and is the official lager sponsor of England Cricket.

Total lager sales in the UK are up 0.6% for the most recent quarter.

45. Camden Town Camden Pale Ale
Sales of Camden Town Brewery’s Pale Ale are up 30% year on year, possibly driven by its larger distribution following AB InBev’s acquisition of the brewer. Marketing will be ramped up in 2017 and Camden will “have fun” with its pop-ups in pubs.

44. Courvoisier VS
Cognac isn’t the first drink the masses will order at the bar, but here we are at number 44 with Courvoisier VS, so something is going right.

Revenue from the brand’s sales in the on-trade were more than £28m in the past year, with value up 13% for the previous toe years.

43. Grey Goose
French-born Grey Goose is focusing on the bartender community by hosting educational events for on-trade bar staff in a bid to help them build consumer engagement. The brand is riding on the rise of super premium spirits among consumers, which it hopes to take further advantage of in the months ahead.

42. Kronenbourg 1664
This big brands has an om-trade value of £296m and is distributed across 25,000 outlets, according to owner Heineken.

Earlier this year, Kronenbourg launched its Alsatian campaign across various media, where dogs help consumers in need of a little revitalisation.

41. Tanqueray
As the gin boom continues to shake British bars, Tanqueray is feeling the benefits with moving annual totals up by 3.6% in volume and 41.4% up in value year on year.

Activation during the year has included a ‘secret garden’ pop-up at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which helped build consumer engagement.  

40. Fentimans Tonic Water
Northern botanically brewed premium soft drink Fentimans is expected to achieve £26m in revenue by the end of the year.


Over the past 12 months, Fentimans has focused on its premium mixer range and has invested in its on-trade accounts by creating sampling opportunities for consumers and the trade.

Future marketing activity over the next three years will see the maker focus on the benefits of its products, both present and future.

There is a pipeline of innovation, which marketing director Andrew Jackson promises will deliver lots of new launches in the months ahead.

He said: “We have recently launched Pink Grapefruit tonic water, which is creating genuine excitement with consumers.

We will also continue to focus on adult soft drinks that offer a credible alternative to alcohol, which continues to be a growing need for consumption in and out of the home.”

39. Johnnie Walker Red Label
World domination appears to be on the cards for this Scottish whisky brand, which has taken a step into the Korean market using a 200ml bottle to make it more readily available to consumers there.

In the UK, meanwhile, Johnnie Walker is promoting a perfect serve with lime and ginger ale – garnished with a slice of ginger.

38. Corona
Sales this year for Corona have been “huge” and are up by 14.8% in volume and 15.7% in value, driven particularly by drinkers in London’s independent free trade, with packaged sales there up by 11.8% in value.

Food-led venues are also proving lucrative for the brand, with volume and value sales up 19.8% and 21.3% respectively.

37. Thatchers Gold
Thatchers Gold is the second-largest draught apple cider in the UK and is one of only two apple ciders in the top five ciders in terms of volume sales growth, with moving annual totals up 2.5%.


The maker added more than £7.5m in value to the draught category last year.

Thatchers says it will blaze ahead to make its mark in the on-trade, supported by TV advertising with its Time Stops commercial, featuring life at Myrtle Farm, where the product is shown being made by the family-run producer.

High-profile marketing for the brand has also included continued association with some of the country’s most iconic music festivals, such as Glastonbury and Cambridge Folk Festival, along with West Country sports teams, including Bath Rugby Club, Bristol Sport (Bristol Rugby Club and Bristol City FC), Bristol Rovers FC and Somerset County Cricket Club.

36. Greene King IPA
In honour of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday earlier this year, Greene King changed the name of its IPA – giving selected pubs new pump clips with ‘Greene Queen IPA’ emblazened on them.

The temporary rebrand caused quite a stir among royalists and those just wanting to celebrate the momentous occasion.

35. Kraken Black Spiced Rum
A limited edition ceramic bottle was launched by spiced rum brand Kraken earlier this year for £30.99 and included intricate embossed details. Kraken, which is usually packaged in glass bottles is rich and smooth, featuring cinnamon, vanilla, cherry and coffee notes and has a 40% ABV.

34. J2O Orange and Passionfruit
Moving annual total sales come in at just over 559,000 hectolitres, bringing the brand in at just under £260m in value – £216m of which comes from the on-trade.

Britvic’s J2O has been advertised consistently since it was launched more than 18 years ago, creating 37.5m sales every year.

33. Heineken Premium
Heineken has shown strong growth in the past year with figures showing 13% volume and 15% value growth.

Heineken’s strong position in the UK on-trade is reinforced by the brand’s high-profile sports sponsorships, such as Rugby World Cup 2015, UEFA Champions League and F1.

32. Stella Cidre
There’s a lot of competition in the cider category at the moment and Stella Cidre has felt it with volumes down 22%.

Focus is now on growing keg and draught  buy-in from consumers, where there is a higher rate of sale and the brand has seen a sales uptick of 7%. Sales in the London free trade are up 3.2% and 5.4% in volume and value respectively.

31. Glenmorangie 10 Year Old
While the brand doesn’t communicate whether sales are up or down, it does say its impact in the on-trade has grown through whisky cocktails and sponsorship of The Open Championship and other high-profile events.

The brand also partnered with Finlay & Co, creators of unique wooden-framed sunglasses, earlier this year to celebrate Glenmorangie’s approach to cask and wood management.

30. Jagermeister
The people behind Jägermeister have worked hard to move the brand beyond (while not forgetting) its JägerBomb image.


The brand’s Route 56 cocktail – Jäger, ginger beer and lime – is a fine balance that moves the drink beyond a shot and into a long serve, suitable for late-night consumption.

Jägermeister, of course, is a drink that has gone unchanged for more than 80 years and is served neat after dinner in the likes of Germany – perhaps another route for UK pubs?

A wide range of cocktails have been developed by the brand to move it beyond the standard short drink that’s become so popular. In a new move, Jägermeister launched a television campaign to target 18 to 34-year-olds in the run-up to this Christmas.

The new ‘craft moment’ will appear between programmes such as The Walking Dead​ on TV and is apparently going to be seen by more than 4m men in the desired target age range.

29. Carlsberg Lager
As with the majority of mass lager brands, Carlsberg is seeing a slight decline in volume and value sales, which are down 9% and 7% respectively.

However, a focus on the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament is expected to boost sales, along with the brand’s “if Carlsberg did…” advertising campaign.

28. Jose Cuervo Especial Gold
Don Jose Antonio de Cuervo founded Jose Cuervo in 1795, and it has since become one of the world’s best selling Tequilas – holding around 35% of global

Especial Gold is made from a blend of reposado (aged) and younger Tequilas.

27. Baileys
Despite competition from own-brand off-trade sales, Baileys has seen value sales increase by 2.6% year on year.

A focus on new cocktails has also helped to drive the brand’s sales, especially with its flat white Martini, which is a twist on the Espresso Martini.

26. Shipyard American Pale Ale
Shipyard, which Marston’s brews in the UK in collaboration with the US-based Shipyard Brewing Company, has benefited from new glassware, signage and social media engagement with consumers.


In the next two years, the Burton-on-Trent brewer will look to double its investment in the brand, following its own UK-based £2m product rebrand.

The brewery said: “With so much choice and great beers out there, the beer has to be special and unique to capture people’s attentions. The sessionability of Shipyard American Pale Ale has people coming back for more rather than moving on to the
next tap.”

Shipyard was started in Portland Maine, US, in 1994 by Fred Forsley and Alan Pugsley – previously a brewer at Ringwood, Hampshire.

Their beers have been available in the UK since 2013 in collaboration with Marston’s as a brewer and pubco.

25. Kopparberg Strawberry and Lime
Swedish cider brand Kopparberg’s Strawberry & Lime is the fastest growing packaged cider variant, with a 16.7% lift in volume sales in the past 12 months, according to the maker.

Kopparberg invested £6m in an integrated marketing campaign that has been activated via TV, outdoor, digital, PR, social media, experiential and in-store channels, the brand’s biggest ever annual marketing investment.

24. Pedigree
The story of Marston’s Pedigree is a big focus for the brewer over the next six to 12 months and will be supported by a £1m investment.


While work has been going on to support a £2m packaging relaunch of Marston’s entire portfolio, the brewer and pubco said: “We’ve continued to support our customers with either bespoke activity or driving rate of sale by incentivising drinkers using our various sponsorship platforms in both cricket and football.”

A fresh new look for Pedigree, as well as the company’s other leading brands, will help to bring the brewer’s heritage to life, it says.

It will be done “through consistent advertising and high-profile sponsorship”, Marston’s added.

A spokesperson said: “Pedigree is a well-established beer and a favourite for so many cask drinkers. That recognition means it gives drinkers an assurance and confidence, which is really important when faced with so much choice on the bar.”

23. Moet and Chandon Brut Imperial
It turns out some pub drinkers are extremely fancy indeed, voting Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial in to 23rd position on The Drinks List: Top 100 Brands.

The French fizz is the best-known Champagne and embodies the house’s stylistic crisp and clean qualities.

22. Budweiser
Despite an overall category volume decline of 1.8%, Budweiser has shown strong resistance and is outperforming the category  – down just 0.2% in volume sales and 0.9% in value sales.

In the London free trade, volume sales are up 14.6% and value up 15%, with 18 to 34-year-old consumers most likely to buy into the brand.

21. Glenfiddich 12 Years
Vanilla, pear, apple and cream are all stand-out notes in Glenfiddich 12 year old, which is one of the world’s best-selling malts, sold in the iconic triangular bottle.

The brand is a firm fixture in every bar across the UK and many across the world, little wonder it has placed so high on the Top 100 Brands list.

20. Fantinel Prosecco Extra Dry
The Prosecco craze can’t have passed many by and Matthew Clarke’s Fantinel Extra Dry Prosecco is a brand within the centre of that trend.

Fantinel is based in the sleepy little town of Spilimbergo in the heart of the Friuli region in Italy.

19. Remy Martin VSOP Mature Cask Finish
Established in 1724, Rémy has become one of the biggest Cognac houses in France and only uses eaux-de-vie from grapes grown in the top two Cognac regions – Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne.

The brand is aligned with the first deluxe version of the Side Car cocktail created in 1923 at the Ritz in Paris.

18. Kopparberg Raspberry
Value and volume sales are up 2.1% and 1.2% respectively for Kopparberg and the brand continues to be the lead packaged fruit cider in the on-trade.


This year Kopparberg invested £6m in an integrated marketing campaign, which was activated through television, outdoor, digital, PR, social media, experiential and in-store channels.

The activity was Kopparberg’s biggest annual spend on marketing, which has “shown dividends”.

A spokesman said: “The Kopparberg brand continues to stay relevant to our Millennial consumers and to grow in the on-trade at 1.2% volume year on year in a challenging environment.

“The multi-channel activity has been focused on our core range of Kopparberg cider, and Fruit Lager.”

Kopparberg will continue its ‘pedigree’ of delivering innovation-based new products, the development of which will be based on consumer insight and research.

On-trade growth, according to the spokesman, has been driven by a continued focus on younger consumers and an understanding of consumer trends.

17. Pepsi
General cola sales are growing by 6.3% in licensed and 10.6% in non-licensed premises, while Pepsi as a brand is growing at 11.4% and 31.4% respectively.

Current marketing activity is helping to change the perception of cola in the on-trade and will continue in the year ahead.

16. Gordon’s
This gin’s sales rose by 7.2% in volume and 11.2% in value in the 12 weeks to 3 September, while the entire Gordon’s portfolio underwent a stylish new rebrand.

Over the next 12 months, there will be a new £3.6m media campaign to raise the profile of the redesign. The brand holds 45% of volume share for the category in GB’s on-trade.

15. Smirnoff
One of Diageo’s biggest success stories is its Smirnoff vodka brand, which, this year, entered the cider category for the first time.

In the past 12 months, net vodka sales rose by 1% and the brand was backed by a £4m campaign. Smirnoff Cider, meanwhile, has delivered more than £1.5m in RSV.

14. Jack Daniels
The stalwart of Jack Daniel’s stable of products is the standard Jack Daniel’s whiskey, which recently became the best-selling whiskey brand in the world, according to master distiller Jeff Arnett.

Jack Daniel’s has also pushed out flavoured variants over the past few years and may well release new flavours in the future.

13. San Miguel
San Miguel is outperforming the world lager segment, which is growing at 9% in volume and 10% in value, with sales up 12% and 14% respectively. 

A spokesperson said: "This year has been momentous for San Miguel, with a series of activations helping to grow the brand and further engage consumers."

12. Bombay Sapphire
Many gin experts claim Bombay Sapphire to be the perfect entry level gin for consumers looking to get into the category.

Year-on-year sales have grown by 13.3% in value and 10% in volume, while a multimedia marketing campaign was splashed across the UK to highlight the 10 botanicals used in the liquor.

11. Peroni Nastro Azzurro
Asahi-owned Peroni is pushing its credentials as a super-premium Italian imported beer.

According to Peroni, if a brand reaches certain metrics, such as quality, taste and experience, consumers will pay significantly more at the bar.

10. Fever Tree Tonic Water
Fever-​Tree has been credited by many in the sector with starting the UK's gin boom through marketing its product as a premium tonic to be served with premium gins. The brand has embarked on a serious marketing campaign, aligning itself with high-end brands and events.

9. Wainwright

Wainwright Bottle

A ‘work-hard, play-harder’ branding campaign was kicked off by Marston’s-owned Wainwright to push the brand’s credentials as a quality beer.

Following the rollout of the activity, Marston’s experienced an uplift in sales by almost a third in the first month of activation.

Marston’s launched a tactic to engage with younger consumers with a hefty redesign this year, which will also be used on the Wainwright brand.

A spokesperson said: “We will also drive trial sampling and interact with our drinkers via the ‘Wainwright Wall Challenges’ and focusing on outdoor activity events that we can get involved in.

“The new branding, while staying coherent with its heritage, has also reinvigorated the brand by making it appealing to a younger market. A full PoS kit throughout the on-trade has ensured a strong brand message is seen from purchase to drink. We wanted it to capture attention and be that rewarding, refreshing beer that you truly deserve.”

8. BrewDog Punk IPA
The ‘punk revolution’ appears to be taking over the world, with BrewDog’s Punk IPA leading at the front as one of the brewer’s and pub operator’s best-selling brews.

If there is only one BrewDog beer in a pub then it is likely to be Punk IPA.

7. Strongbow Dark Fruit
Dark Fruit has experienced raging success since its 2014 launch in UK pubs, with moving annual total volume sales up 232.7% and value sales up 223.8% for the past 12 months.

Activation over the next 12 months will aim to keep sales buoyant, while its current success in the on-trade is put down to its point of difference
on the bar.

Strongbow pint

Market share has tripled in the past 12 months to 13.3% (versus 4.1% last year) and is the UK’s third most popular cider.

The variant’s launch capitalized on the success of the popular pub drink cider and blackcurrant.

A spokesperson said: “As well as adding more absolute volume growth to the draught-cider category than any other cider, 70% of Strongbow Dark Fruit sales are incremental and help grow the total beer and cider category in the on-trade.”

The category growth of Strongbow is, in fact, being led by Dark Fruit, according to owner Heineken, which showed a slight decline in the original variant. However, Strongbow original still maintains a quarter of the market in terms of volume and 22% of value.

The spokesperson added: “Strongbow Dark Fruit is going from strength to strength, growing by 179,000 hectolitres in the past 12 months, more than tripling its market share this year and becoming the UK’s third most popular draught cider.”

In the 52 weeks to 23 January 2016, consumers spent £1.8bn on cider and perry in the on-trade, up 0.9% in volume and 2.7% in value, according to traditional cider maker Weston’s first annual report earlier this year, which highlighted Strongbow as the best-selling draught cider brand in the UK on-trade.

In The Morning Advertiser​’s (MA​) annual Cider Report​ this year, Strongbow’s Cloudy Apple variant was highlighted as a liquid that could offer operators an opportunity to increase margins.

Last year, 600,000 free Cloudy Apple samples were given to people in city centres and transport hubs in a campaign to boost product awareness.

As a result, Strongbow Cloudy Apple Cider found its way into 1,250 pubs in 2015.

Heineken, with its large portfolio of cider brands, sees itself as responsible for keeping the cider category afloat, as Heineken brand director for cider Emma Sherwood-Smith told MA​ on the rollout of its Blind Pig cider variants.

6. Guinness
The Brewers Project, which saw new Guinness variants launch from the Dublin-based brewer, is still rolling on and likely to raise brand awareness further still.

The current brews include: Hop House 13, West Indies and Dublin Porters and Guinness Golden Ale. However, the strength behind the brand lies within the original stout.

5. Coca-Cola
A slight decline in volume sales of 0.4% is a drop in the water for the world’s biggest soft drinks seller in pubs and bars, which is likely to be a result of increased activity from campaign groups and drinks companies alike to help consumers reduce their daily sugar intake.

Notably, Coca-Cola’s rebranded zero sugar variant is a sign the manufacturer is giving its customers more choice.

The product’s value sales are up
0.8% and Coca-Cola’s Christmas marketing activity is set to roll out across the UK.

A spokesperson said: “Coca-Cola is synonymous with Christmas, and known for its marketing campaign that brings the festive season to life in a way only Coca-Cola can. This year’s activation has already begun with the return of the iconic television Holidays are Coming​ TV advert and truck tour.”

The brand is also partnering with The Morning Advertiser​ on a special project to promote its Designated Driver campaign in December.


4. Absolut Blue
During the past 12 months Absolut Original has become the fastest growing spirit in the on-trade, with sales volumes up 22% and value up 32%, which is in contrast to the total vodka category, which saw value and volume sales rise by 6% and 1% respectively.

3. Stella Artois
Distribution losses have caused Stella Artois’s total value and volume sales to dip by 1.8% and 3.1% respectively. However, in line with market trends, the brand is seeing strong growth in food venues (+5.6%).

The brand’s marketing activity has been focused on premium events, such as the Wimbledon Open and Royal Ascot.

2. Captain Morgans Spiced
Sales of the Captain Morgan Spiced Rum variant helped contribute to the brand’s overall year-on-year 21% rise in moving annual total volumes.

Earlier this year, the Diageo-owned brand announced a £4.6m marketing campaign to strengthen its growing portfolio, which also saw the addition of a white variant. The campaign carried the tagline ‘Live Like The Captain’ and ran across television, social media and digital, and heavily featured the ‘captain’.

The captain was present at The Morning Advertiser​’s Publican Awards in March this year, where he was serving rum cocktails and mischief from his ‘ship’.

1. Hendricks
Premium gin take up is on a high, with volume sales rising by more than 55% in the 12 months to 16 April 2016 and value sales up by almost 60%.


Gin is the fourth-largest spirits category in the on-trade and accounted for 9.9% of overall spirit value sales in the 12 months to 16 April 2016.

For Hendrick’s, value sales rose by 35% to £71m and volume sales were up 32.4%.

This year, the William Grant & Sons brand launched a marketing campaign called the “Ministry of Marginally Superior Transport”, which aimed to introduce the brand to new customers. The campaign, which delivered more than 120m web page impressions, appears to have had a significant impact because research agency CGA Strategy, which compiled the Drinks List: Top 100 Brands, saw it come out on top as a must-see product in UK pubs and bars.

During the next three years, Hendrick’s marketing will focus on bringing more customers into the brand’s clutches through immersive events, digital experiences and unusual cocktails.

Hendrick’s senior brand manager Sam Bovill said the brand’s positive impression in the on-trade comes from being “truly unusual, and therefore authentic to our unusual self”.


The list was compiled by CGA Strategy based on consumer preference, equity scores and sales metrics and includes brands from the spirits, wine, softs and LAD categories. Consumer opinion forms the basis of the methodology, highlighting the brands that consumers want to see when they visit the on-trade. As such a 66:33 weighted split was used to determine the list, balancing consumer preferences with actual on-trade sales performance to give the most accurate and comprehensive list of the 100 ultimate drinks brands in the GB on-trade. By measuring brands against a number of equity features, we have also uncovered consumers’ perception of brands and the reasons why they make up the nation’s favourite drinks – are they cool, fun, value for money? etc. All sales data used in the report is from the brands and their owners.

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