And where better to start than with SLTN’s own Top Brands list?
Earlier this year, in conjunction with research company CGA Strategy, we published a rundown of the top-selling brands in the Scottish on-trade, including those that enjoyed a particularly strong performance between 2012 and 2013.
It comes as no surprise that lager continues to be a vital category for Scottish publicans.
It came as no surprise that lager continues to be a vital category for Scottish publicans, with annual sales of more than £650 million a year. And, perhaps less surprising, is that the category continues to be dominated by Tennent’s Lager.
According to CGA’s data, Tennent’s was still the top-selling brand in the Scottish trade overall, with rival lagers Stella Artois, Foster’s and Peroni also occupying spaces in the top ten.
And each of them seems keen to retain their top positions in 2014, having been the focus of marketing activity throughout the year.
On the ale and stout side, stalwarts Guinness and Belhaven Best continue to be huge sellers in Scottish pubs, and were named the third and eighth biggest selling brands respectively.
When it comes to spirits, it was also a case of business as usual as vodka remained the biggest category with a value of more than £200 million, and Smirnoff retained its position as the best-selling spirit in the Scottish on-trade.
Outside of the vodka category, Diageo stablemates Captain Morgan and Gordon’s both had a particularly strong year, jumping several places on the list to become the fifth and 14th biggest-selling brands in the Scottish on-trade.
Diageo has continued to invest in the brands throughout 2013, having recently unveiled a fresh packaging design for Captain Morgan, while the Gordon’s range has been expanded with the launch of a new cucumber-flavoured variant.
Growth in spirits wasn’t limited to Diageo’s brands, however.
Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands also succeeded in growing its presence in the Scottish on-trade, with both Jack Daniel’s and Bacardi moving up the Top Brands list. One of the world’s biggest whiskey brands, Jack Daniel’s has maintained its profile this year through activity such as its ‘Mr Jack’s Birthday’ and Christmas campaigns, while Bacardi’s Bacardi Beginnings initiative has reiterated the brand’s ties to music.
Another top drinks category, cider, has been a success story for the Scottish trade in recent years, and the CGA data revealed that this continued into 2013.
While Heineken-owned Strongbow retained its place as the sixth biggest-selling brand in Scottish pubs, bars and restaurants, Swedish cider Rekorderlig and C&C Group brands Magners Golden Draught and Blackthorn were all said to have made gains in the Scottish market.
In fact, Rekorderlig was branded one of the ‘high flyers’ of the list, having grown by more than 30% in value terms between 2012 and 2013. This winter, the brand is aiming to maintain a high profile with a range of cocktail serves.
And cider wasn’t the only category to enjoy growth.
The cider category continued to be a success story in the Scottish trade in 2013.
C&C Group increased the value of its Caledonia Best ale brand, while, in the RTD category, Global Brands-owned VK also made strides.
Other brands deemed to have performed particularly well between 2012 and 2013 included sambuca brand Antica, French vodka Grey Goose and Heineken-owned cider Bulmers, all of which were deemed to have significantly increased their Scottish footprints in the course of the year.