The Drinks List

The Drinks List – top brands to stock in 2022

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

What are the best selling alcohol brands of 2021?

Related tags: Branding + marketing, Beer, Wine, Craft beer, Cask ale, Lager, Soft drinks, Rtd, Spirits, Cider

This year’s Drinks List has been impacted by the fact the on-trade sector was either in lockdown or operating under restrictions from October 2020 to July 2021, which was a longer period than when the results was previously compiled.

In comparison to the last year’s results that have once again been put sourced by insights expert CGA​, most categories and brands have seen losses in terms of volume and value sales in this year’s Drink List: Top Brands to Stock 2022 from The Morning Advertiser​.

But there were some brands that racked up some incredible sales despite the torrid times we are all going through. And, one categories where there were more positives shifts this year than negatives was the blooming Tequila sector.

The way the Drink List: Top Brands to Stock 2022 works is brands are ranked from best-performing when it comes to volume and value sales throughout the year from October 2020 to 9 October 2021. Some sections may have as many as the leading 10 brands while others such as mixers, low and no-alcohol beers and vodka have five.

Here, we show you the sector leaders with statistics that show their credentials during the past year and how that has differed from the previous year.

  • All data provided by CGA for the 12 months to 9 October 2021

Cask ale

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At Greene King, we’ve been crafting quality cask ales at the Westgate Brewery, Bury St Edmunds, since 1799. The roots set down by Benjamin Greene and Frederick King are embedded in the way we make our beer today. Our dedication to brewing hasn’t changed and we still apply the same passion and craftsmanship to every single beer we brew. Cask beer remains a unique product that can’t be replicated at home. Generations of beer drinkers can attest to the experience that only a true pint of cask can give.

Greene King IPA is a pint people trust and recommend to friends. It’s an easy drinking, session ale with a hoppy taste and aroma making it clean, crisp and moreish – perfect to enjoy whilst watching sport! That’s why more cask ale drinkers prefer the taste of IPA to leading competitors, and it’s the fastest selling cask ale.

Abbot Ale really is a beer to be savoured. With its rich and malty flavours and masses of fruit cake characters, it’s perfectly balanced with English hops to give a great tasting pint. Having recently undergone a brand refresh, the Abbot might have a new change of robes, but rest assured, we haven’t altered the recipe one jot - it’s the same beer we know and love!

Visit www.greenekingbrewery.co.uk​ to find out more about our beers

Sharp’s Brewery has retained top spot in the cask ale category as value sales for its Doom Bar brand remain a remarkable £20m ahead of all other rivals.

Second place went to Greene King IPA with Timothy Taylor’s Landlord sealing third spot. The top five was completed by Fuller’s London Pride and Greene King Abbot Ale respectively.

The lower half of the division saw Wainwright take sixth place, St Austell Tribute Ale in seventh and Marston’s Pedigree eighth.

The final two places went to Ruddles Best and Draught Bass.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (hl)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Sharp's Doom Bar 

83,682 

50.9 

1

Level

2

Greene King IPA

49,384 

30.8 

2

Level

3

Timothy Taylor's Landlord

36,733 

25.9

5

+2

4

Fuller's London Pride

34,995

25.3

3

-1

5

Greene King Abbot Ale

24,794 

15.1

4

-1

6

Wainwright

19,450

11.8

6

Level

7

St Austell Tribute Ale

18,979

13.1

8

+1

8

Marston's Pedigree

16,448

9.8

7

-1

9

Ruddles Best

11,251

2.7

9

Level

10

Draught Bass

9,703

5.8

10

Level

(back to top)

Soft drinks

This year’s soft drinks category is almost a carbon copy of last year’s with just one new entry as a disruptor in Schweppes Lime Cordial.

Coca-Cola and Diet Coke have taken the top two spaces followed by Pepsi Max, R Whites and Pepsi to seal off the top five this year.

In the lower half of the table, Schweppes Lemonade, Diet Pepsi, Coke Zero, Schweppes Lime Cordial and Red Bull make up the sixth to 10 places.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (hl)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Coca-Cola

431,747

275.1

1

Level

2

Diet Coke

331,213 

217.1 

2

Level

3

Pepsi Max

247,329

132.3

3

Level

4

R Whites

208,898

109.4

4

Level

5

Pepsi

200,366

108.2

5

Level

6

Schweppes Lemonade

191,507 

116.1

6

Level

7

Diet Pepsi

157,202

84.3

7

Level

8

Coke Zero

135,872

82

8

Level

9

Schweppes Lime Cordial

84,857

31.4

N/A

New entry

10

Red Bull

64,864

70.6 

9

-1

(back to top)

Ready-to-drink (RTD)

Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer is the champion in this year ready-to-drink (RTD) division this year, ahead of WKD Blue.

Notably, draught cocktails have been classified in the RTD category by CGA and Smirnoff Passion Fruit Martini, Smirnoff Espresso Martini and Gordon’s Pink Martini have taken fifth, ninth and 10th​ places respectively – all with rises in sales as all other contenders have slumped to some degree.

Rounding out the top four are Smirnoff Ice Red and VK Blue, while wedged between the draught cocktails are VK Orange & Passionfruit, Hooch and VK Tropical Fruits as they sewed up position six to eight.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (hl)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer 

11,079

10.9

1

Level

2

WKD Blue

10,752 

13.1 

2

Level

3

Smirnoff Ice Red

9,405 

11.6 

4

+1

4

VK Blue

7,798

9

3

-1

5

Smirnoff Passion Fruit Martini

5,806 

26.7

N/A

New entry

6

VK Orange & Passionfruit

5,351 

6

5

-1

7

Hooch

5,122 

4.3

6

-1

8

VK Tropical Fruits

2,916 

3.4

7

-1

9

Smirnoff Espresso Martini

2,804 

13.1

N/A

New entry

10

Gordon's Pink Martini

2,037 

9.1 

N/A

New entry

(back to top)

Craft Beer

The overall value of the UK on-trade’s eight best-selling craft beers plummeted by £26.3m in the past year, with Camden Hells Lager topping charts for the second year running.

Beavertown was the only company to see a rise in volume and value with its Neck Oil IPA and Gamma Ray APA bookending the list in second and eighth place, with the six other beers dropping in value and volume sales.

While retaining its spot in seventh place, Brooklyn saw the largest fall of 40.9% in volume and 41.8% in sales.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (hl)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Camden Town Hells Lager

76,831

72.8

1

Level

2

Beavertown Neck Oil Session IPA

33,796

34.2

5

+3

3

BrewDog Punk IPA

30,597

26.9

2

-1

4

Camden Town Pale Ale

20,289

18.8

3

-1

5

Marston’s Shipyard APA

16,719

11.4

4

-1

6

Blue Moon

14,822

13.3

6

Level

7

Brooklyn Lager

10,191

9.8

7

Level

8

Beavertown Gamma Ray APA

9,985

10.7

N/A

New entry

(back to top)

Lager

The top 10 lager brands sold some 4,507,487 hectolitres (HL) over the course of this year, despite the challenges posed to the on-trade.

While Carling saw a drop in sales of both volume and value (34.5% and 33.1% respectively), it sold 1,129,143HL this year, worth £662.2m and retained its place as the most sold lager.

Fosters retained its place in second and saw a similar drop to Carling in terms of percentages with 689,084HL sold this year, the equivalent of £426.5m.

Birra Moretti rose up the list from tenth place last year to be the third best-selling lager this year, with volume sales up by 14.6% to 458,258HL and value also up by 18.3% to £389.3m.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro took fourth spot and Stella Artois remained at number five. Coors came in at number six.

Carlsberg Danish Pilsner slipped from third place last year to seventh in the latest list. Amstel also fell slightly going from seventh position to ninth.

A similar story can be said for Tennents Lager which came in a ninth last year but is now placed at number 10.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (hl)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Carling

1,129,143

662.2

1

Level

2

Foster’s

689,084

426.5

2

Level

3

Birra Moretti

458,258

389.3

10

+7

4

Peroni Nastro Azzurro

378,953

373.9

6

+2

5

Stella Artois

366,457

258.4

5

Level

6

Coors

361,023

225.4

4

-1

7

Carlsberg Danish Pilsner

358,193

205.2

3

-4

8

San Miguel

302,426

222.5

8

Level

9

Amstel

266,677

200

7

-2

10

Tennents Lager

197,274

116.6

9

-1

(back to top)

Cider

The first half of the top 10 have seen no changes in placement this year, compared to last with Strongbow remaining in first place, followed by Strongbow Dark Fruit, Thatchers Gold, Magners Original and Stowford Press.

Figures for Strongbow came in at 230,277HL – a fall of 28% for volume and sold £139.5m in value – down by just over a quarter (26.1%).

Its sister brand Strongbox Dark Fruit saw similar levels in terms of percentage changes with volume sales at 158,335HL – a 29.5% decrease on the previous year and £102.7m in value – down 27.6% against last year.

Third place Thatchers Gold saw 135,806HL, which equated to 18.2% down and the same (18.2%) in terms of value sales to £86m.

However, for the second half, there has been some change. Kopparberg Strawberry and Lime moved up a place to sixth, while Thatchers Haze, which came in at tenth last year and was a new entry then, has risen to seventh.

Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime shifted slightly up from ninth to eighth this year while Kopparberg Mixed Fruits dropped a little from number eight to 10 this year.

All ciders in the top 10, bar one, saw a drop in volume and value figures but not more than a third. Thatchers Haze was the only brand to see figures up with a 7% rise to 42,662HL in volume and 9.3% increase to £28.3m in value.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (hl)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Strongbow

1

Level

2

Strongbow Dark Fruit

2

Level

3

Thatchers Gold

3

Level

4

Magners Original

4

Level

5

Stowford Press

5

Level

6

Kopparberg Strawberry & Lime

7

+1

7

Thatchers Somerset Haze

10

+3

8

Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime

9

+1

9

Carling Black Fruit Cider

6

-3

10

Kopparberg Mixed Fruits

8

-2

(back to top)

Wine

A total of 466,548 9-litre cases of wine have been sold over the past year – down from 641,931 9-litre cases in the previous year.

Jack Rabbit Pinot Grigio again, remains the top selling brand in the UK the figures found the brand felt a drop in volume sales of 32.1% to 90,755 9-litre cases and similar percentage (30.8%) in value to £14.7m.

Last year’s number three became this year’s number two – Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial with value sales at 59,815 9-litre cases (down 9.4%) and value sales at £42.7m (down by 7.2%).

Fetzer Coldwater Creek Pinot Grigio moved down a little to third from second with value sales at 58,037 9-litre cases and value down about a quarter (26.6%) to £9m.

Its sister brand Fetzer Coldwater Creek Rosé has steadily climbed the list and this year has moved up a place from fifth to fourth

Coming in a fifth was Jack Rabbit Merlot followed by Jack Rabbit Sauvignon Blanc – a difference for the former of rising four places and for the latter, remaining at sixth. Fellow Jack Rabbit variant White Zinfandel was a new entry this year, placed in tenth, its Chardonnay also placed this year at number eighth.

Vinuva Prosecco rose one place to seventh and spot number nine was filled by Blossom Hill White – down two places from seven.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (9-litre cases)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Jack Rabbit Pinot Grigio

90,755

14.7

1

Level

2

Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial

59,815

42.7

3

+1

3

Fetzer Coldwater Creek Pinot Grigio

58,037

9

2

-1

4

Fetzer Coldwater Creek White Zinfandel Rosé

43,816

6.8

5

+1

5

Jack Rabbit Merlot

40,146

6.6

4

-1

6

Jack Rabbit Sauvignon Blanc

40,083

6.3

6

Level

7

Vinuva Prosecco

38,502

9.2

8

+1

8

Jack Rabbit Chardonnay

37,795

5.9

N/A

New entry

9

Blossom Hill White

29,801

4.5

7

-2

10

Jack Rabbit White Zinfandel

27,801

4.5

N/A

New entry

(back to top)

Spirits

Despite volume and value sales drops of 16.9% and 15.2% respectively during the past year, Smirnoff Red remains by far the best-selling spirit overall.

Its value sales, for example, are a clear £368.6m ahead of its nearest rival, second placed Gordon’s Pink Gin, which suffered volume sales losses of 27.6% and 23.6% in value.

The rest of the top 10 is made up of Jagermeister, Captain Morgan Spiced, Gordon’s, Jack Daniel’s, Aperol, Baileys, Bacardi Carta Blanca and Malibu.

Only Aperol and Malibu made improvements on sales figures from the previous year’s Drinks List.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (hl)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Smirnoff Red

527,555

1

Level

2

Gordon’s Pink Gin

166,256

2

Level

3

Jagermeister

144,532

5

+2

4

Captain Morgan Spiced

137,339

3

-1

5

Gordon’s

106,909

4

-1

6

Jack Daniel’s

93,537

6

Level

7

Aperol

65,845

N/A

New entry

8

Baileys

57,256

8

Level

9

Bacardi Carta Blanca

55,384

9

Level

10

Malibu

44,359

N/A

New entry

(back to top)

Vodka

The vodka category has seen drops in volume and value sales but Smirnoff Red remains way ahead of all of contenders in first place.

To demonstrate its superiority, Smirnoff Red enjoyed value sales in the on-trade of almost £553m, which was almost £500m ahead of every other brand.

Its nearest challenger is Absolut Blue followed by Ketel One, Grey Goose and  new entry Absolut Vanilla. Russian Standard Vodka has seen its top five appearance come to an end as it slips out of contention.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (9-litre cases)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Smirnoff Red

527,555

552.8

1

Level

2

Absolut Blue

44,293

56.4 

2

Level

3

Ketel One

27,512

38.4 

3

Level

4

Grey Goose

23,855

36.6

5

+1

5

Absolut Vanilla

22,827

26.4

N/A

New entry

(back to top)

Tequila

Tequila, it makes me happy, and quite a few others too as sales in both volume and value has been impressive in this category, which has not featured in the Drinks List previously.

Jose Cuervo is showing the way with two of its variants taking the gold and silver medal positions and Olmeca taking third, fourth and seventh places in this list.

Rivals El Jimador Blanco and Patron Silver have both enjoyed the highest comparable lifts in volume and value sales in this category to take fifth and sixth spots respectively.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (9-litre cases)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Jose Cuervo Especial Gold 

23,777

26.1

N/A

N/A

2

Jose Cuervo Especial Silver

11,048 

12.5

N/A

N/A

3

Olmeca Blanco

5,797

6.9

N/A

N/A

4

Olmeca Reposado

5,248

6.4

N/A

N/A

5

El Jimador Blanco

 4,373

6.5

N/A

N/A

6

Patron Silver

3,854

7

N/A

N/A

7

Olmeca Altos Plata

2,638

3.9

N/A

N/A

(back to top)

Gin

Most brands hadn’t budged from last year’s rankings in this year’s list of the UK’s top gin brands, and there wasn’t much to celebrate in terms of value and volume rates which decreased across the board.

Gordon’s once again headed the chart, with its Pink Gin bagging first place and standard Gordon’s coming in at second with a significant value margin between the pair.

The list’s only movements were Hendrick’s and Beefeater, which switched retrospectively into fifth and sixth place, and Whitley Neill and Tanqueray swapping between eighth and ninth.

Bombay Samphire saw the biggest drop in rates with a 34.8% fall in volume versus last year and 35.2% fall in value.

The list showed a sweet tooth was apparent in consumers with a noted split between flavoured and non-flavoured gins.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (9-litre cases)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Gordon’s Pink Gin

166,256

184.2

1

Level

2

Gordon’s

106,909

111.2

2

Level

3

Bombay Sapphire

36,663

44.7

3

Level

4

Tanqueray

35,663

46

4

Level

5

Hendrick’s

31,082

43.3

6

+1

6

Beefeater

28,907

37.9

5

-1

7

Beefeater Blood Orange

12,932

15

7

Level

8

Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger

11,704

14.7

9

+1

9

Tanqueray Sevilla

10,746

14.3

8

-1

10

Beefeater Pink London Dry Gin

9,758

12.6

10

Level

(back to top)

Rum

This year’s top two brands have been mainstays of their positions. Captain Morgan’s Spiced came in at number one, selling 137,339 9-litre cases, and value sales at £140.6m (decreases of 16% and 13.5% respectively).

Second place Bacardi Carta Blanca saw a larger percentage decrease, selling 55,384 9-litre cases – down by 28.3% - and £592m – down by 26.5%.

Kraken Black Spiced moved one place up to third and sales remained relatively similar to the previous year. Volume was at 25,914 9-litre cases (0.8% lower) and £32.4m in value sales (a drop of 0.2%).

When it comes to the rest of the list, Captain Morgan slipped slightly from third to fourth but Havana Club 3 YO moved up by one place from sixth to fifth.

Similarly, Sailor Jerry Spiced swapped from fifth last year to sixth this year and Havana Club Especial from seventh to eighth.

Wray & Nephew Overproof White is now at number seven (compared to eight last year) while Captain Morgan White (tenth) and Bacardi Spiced (ninth) swapped places this year.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (9-litre cases)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Captain Morgan Spiced

137,339

140.6

1

Level

2

Bacardi Carta Blanca

55,384

59.2

2

Level

3

Kraken Black Spiced Rum

25,914

32.4

4

+1

4

Captain Morgan

22,410

22.7

3

-1

5

Havana Club 3 Year Old

19,521

24.9

6

+1

6

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

12,793

15.8

5

-1

7

Wray & Nephew Overproof White

10,720

15.5

8

+1

8

Havana Club Especial

9,187

11.8

7

-1

9

Bacardi Spiced

6,751

7.3

10

+1

10

Captain Morgan White

5,491

5.3

9

-1

(back to top)

Whiskies

Guess who’s back? Jack is back. Jack Daniel’s that is. Once again, the Bourbon beverage has topped the whiskies category in both volume and value sales.

It wasn’t pretty for any in this division as losses ranged between 20% and 48% across the board with no increases for any brand. JD suffered volume losses from 139,775 9-litre cases last year to 93,537 9-litres cases this year – a drop of 33.1% while value sales fell to £107.8m from last year’s £157.4m (31.5% loss). However, it was selling more than double of any of its rivals in both volume and value.

Second place went to Famous Grouse with third spot taken by Bell’s. While Jameson and Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old rounded out the top five, the lower positions were filed by Whyte & Mackay, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Johnnie Walker Red Label, Maker’s Mark and Monkey Shoulder, respectively.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (9-litre cases)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Jack Daniel’s

93,537

107.8

1

Level

2

Famous Grouse

41,204

40.3

2

Level

3

Bell’s

30,937

30

3

Level

4

Jameson

25,630

30.2

4

Level

5

Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 YO

11,955

16.7

5

Level

6

Whyte & Mackay

7,626

5

6

Level

7

Jack Daniel’s Honey

7,275

8.5

7

Level

8

Johnnie Walker Red Label

5,711

8.3

8

Level

9

Maker’s Mark Kentucky Bourbon

5,236

7.7

9

Level

10

Monkey Shoulder

4,863

7.1

N/A

New entry

(back to top)

Liqueurs & specialities

While there was no corresponding category in last year’s Drink List, liqueurs & specialities is certainly a section licensees cannot ignore.

German tipple Jagermeister has maintained impressive sales in both volume and value terms to be the category winner while Aperol has smashed its previous records in scooping second place. Baileys, Malibu and Amaretto Disaronno round out the top five.

The lower half of the table shows Pimm’s No1 making huge strides in reaching eighth place, following just Sourz (Apple) and Antica Sambuca Classic, while staying ahead of Luxardo Sambuca Dei Cesari and Sourz (Cherry).

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (9-litre cases)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Jagermeister

144,532

155.9

N/A

N/A

2

Aperol

65,845

72.1

N/A

N/A

3

Baileys

57,256

42

N/A

N/A

4

Malibu

44,359

48

N/A

N/A

5

Amaretto Disaronno

43,692

47.9

N/A

N/A

6

Sourz (Apple)

42,589

32.5

N/A

N/A

7

Antica Sambuca Classic

38,727

39.9

N/A

N/A

8

Pimm’s No1

38,036

31.6

N/A

N/A

9

Luxardo Sambuca Dei Cesari

27,549

28.7

N/A

N/A

10

Sourz (Cherry)

27,065

20.4

N/A

N/A

(back to top)

No and low-alcohol beer

Although cited as a category in growth in previous years, even no and low-alcohol beer suffered losses across the board this year.

Beck’s Blue, usurped last year from top spot by Heineken 0.0 has remained in second place as the returning champion took first prize once more. Heineken 0.0 saw its volume sales shrink to 14,892 hectolitres (HL) from 17,244hl a fall of 13.6% and its value sales drop from £13.7m to £12.2m.

Beck’s Blue was hit harder with a 36.2% loss in volume sales and a 34.8% drop in value. Making up the top five were Peroni Libera in third place, followed by San Miguel 0% and Erdinger Alcoholfrei.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (hl)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Heineken 0.0

14,892

12.2

1

Level

2

Beck’s Blue

6,230

6.3

2

Level

3

Peroni Libera

3,131

3.4

3

Level

4

San Miguel 0%

1,344

1.1

4

Level

5

Erdinger Alcoholfrei

1,200

0.9

5

Level

(back to top)

Tonics

Significant drops cannot disguise the fact premium tonics are making the top five for a reason – and that’s down to quality.

Fever-Tree took the top two positions with its Tonic Water and Refreshingly Light Tonic variants while Schweppes snared third and fourth spots with its Tonic Water and Slimline Tonic Water options.

Fifth place was picked by Britvic Low Calorie Tonic Water.

Read more here​.

2021 rank

Brand

Volume (hl)

Value (£m)

2020 rank

Up or down

1

Fever-Tree Tonic Water

41,846

45.3

1

Level

2

Fever-Tree Refreshingly Light Tonic Water

27,212

28.1

3

+1

3

Schweppes Tonic Water

25,039

24.8

2

-1

4

Schweppes Slimline Tonic Water

21,256

20.3

4

Level

5

Britvic Low Calorie Tonic Water

12,449

10.5

5

Level

  • All data provided by CGA for the 12 months to 9 October 2021

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