The Top 100 Alcohol Brands 2014: The State of the Drinks Market


Image of drinks warehouse to support post on Top 100 alcohol brands

The Grocer’s list of the Top 100 Booze Brands is out. Which brands are on the up in 2014?

*Check out our updated analysis based on 2016’s list of the Top 100 Alcohol Brands.

It’s that time of year again. The Grocer has published its list of the UK’s top 100 alcohol brands. The overall data is positive with 2013’s hot summer helping to drive a healthy 5% growth in value and 3.3% in volume. Yet what else can be gleaned from the stats? We’ve delved into the data to see which categories are growing, who’s hot and who’s not.

The UK’s top 100 alcohol brands are worth over £8 billion, while the top 10 brands worth over £3 billion (40% of the overall value for the top 100).

Pie Chart Showing the Top 100 Alcohol Brands Split by Category & Value

Beer remains the biggest category, accounting for 35% of the value followed by spirits and wine at 29% and 26% respectively. Cider is the smallest with 9% of the value. Within beers, lager dominates, accounting for over 90% of the value with just three ale brands in the top 100 which make up just 5% of the value.

John Smiths, though declining, is the biggest ale followed by Old Speckled Hen. Surprisingly, Boddington’s also makes the list, although its decline of almost 13% will, if it continues, see it fall out of the list. This also shows that despite the attention given to craft beer and premium bottled ales the volume just isn’t there in the off-trade.

The top 10 brands are:

Table showing the Top 10 UK Alcohol Brands in 2014

The big beer brands Stella, Fosters, Carlsberg, Carling and Budweiser dominate the top 10 accounting for five of the top six places. With the exception of Stella, all have seen steady growth over the last 12 months.

Smirnoff is the third biggest brand, with spirits also represented by the Famous Grouse at number 10. Smirnoff and Blossom Hill are the only two brands in the top 10 to have declined. The wine category is also represented by Hardys. Finally, Strongbow might be the sole cider representative but its growth of 12.6% outperforms the others.

The Top 100 Alcohol Brands: Table Showing the Fastest Growing Brands

The big winner is Desperados who more than doubled as consumers leapt into the spirit beer segment. How much growth is left for the brand is open to question.

Polish beer Tyskie also saw impressive growth as consumers sought out novelty and authenticity, a trend that seems to have driven Russian Standard vodka’s rapid growth too.

Rekorderlig and Koppaberg also grew in line with the massive growth in the fruit cider category. With last year’s summer seen as a boon for the wider alcohol sector, it’ll be interesting to see whether the onward march of fruit ciders is sustainable, especially if the summer weather disappoints.

But it’s not all rosy. Plenty of brands – 30 of the top 100 – have seen a decline in value. The table below shows the worst performing:

Top 100 Alcohol Brands: Table Showing Fastest Declining Brands

Three of the biggest losers are wine brands. WKD also fared badly over the last 12 months. Its fate might well be tied to that of the biggest winners: has the growth of fruit ciders (and to a small degree spirit beers) taken the mantle from the old-school RTDs? Many consider these more RTD than ciders and if the growth continues, does it spell a slow death for WKD? Can the brand’s owners innovate to capture the mood of the current 18 – 25 segment that served it so well from 2000 onwards? Its original drinkers have almost certainly moved on, progressing into spirits or wine.

After last year’s summer the big brands certainly have cause to celebrate. The key trends have been innovation and premiumisation. Brands who have followed the consumer trends have fared well. Innovation is one area. The move into fruit ciders, citrus and other flavoured beers has paid off for many. Based on this year’s Top 100 Alcohol Brands the sector is in rude health.

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