Pimm's summer slump
This eclectic category has done well to keep sales nearly static at £340 million over the last year, as two leading players - Diageo's Baileys and Pimm's No 1 - started freefalling.
Baileys had a tough year in 2005-6 with sales dropping 6 per cent - but that's nothing like the 25.4 per cent slide it saw this year. Diageo blames a Christmas two-for-£25 offer, which "locked out lighter buyers, where a sizeable amount of Baileys' volume comes from", according to a spokeswoman. But although the brand lost 25 per cent of volumes and 22 per cent of sales, according to Diageo's annual results for 2006-7, it rallied in the second half, gaining 12 per cent sales on the back of ramped-up promotions.
By contrast, new variant Baileys Mint Chocolate had a superb first year, storming into the top 50 brands with 647.6 per cent sales growth.
Pimm's No 1, alongside lager and cider, was the victim of a summer in which it was almost never Pimm's o'clock.
In the year to July 14, sales dropped just 3.2 per cent - but with the whole rainy month taken into account the figures are dramatically different. A 16.5 per cent sales drop was enough to let Bacardi-Martini's Southern Comfort overtake it into second place (and 16th in the overall league), with modest 4.9 per cent growth.
A concerted advertising, marketing and promotions campaign saw Pernod Ricard's Tia Maria sprint ahead 32.4 per cent, after losing 7 per cent of sales in 2005-6.
And InterContinental Brands' lower-alcohol vodka liqueur Vodkat grew sales by 236 per cent to £10.7 million.
& specialities value
11/8/07: £340 million
15/7/06: £341 million
Change from Aug 2006: -1%
Top five liqueur & speciality brands
1 Baileys -25%
2 Southern Comfort +5%
3 Pimm's No 1 -20%
4 Malibu +8%
5 Tia Maria +32%