Alcopop sales plummet

Exclusive sales figures show alcopops in dramatic decline as premium packaged spirits grab share

Sales of alcopops plunged by more than a third over the summer, with Bass’ Hooper’s Hooch hit hard as drinkers switched to more “adult-oriented” drinks.

According to new figures by industry market researcher ACNielsen, volume sales through supermarkets and off-licences of alcoholic carbonates such as Hooper’s Hooch and Two Dogs plummeted by 35 per cent during July and August, compared with the same period last year.

These months are the peak period for sales of alcoholic drinks. Figures for sales through pubs and clubs are not yet available for the period, but during June and July, they were down seven per cent on the previous year.

The figures are a blow to Bass as Hooper’s Hooch has a 90 per cent share of the alcopops market.

Stuart Croucher, drinks buyer at leading retailer Spar, says consumers have turned their backs on what they perceive as the “childish” branding of Hooch, and switched to more adult-oriented drinks, such as V2 and Metz.

The ACNielsen figures show the drop in the alcopops market was all the more exaggerated because it increased by seven per cent volume over the year to the end of August as a whole, because of strong demand last Christmas.

Bass says Hooch is still the fourth largest bottled alcohol brand after Budweiser, Holsten and Beck’s Bier and is worth 250m. “Hooch is a big player. We hope it is going to stay there,” says a spokesman.

The Spilt Drinks Company, distributor of the Jammin alcopop, has gone into voluntary liquidation, blaming bad publicity surrounding alcopops for its collapse. Jammin will continue to be distributed through 21st Century Drinks.

News Analysis, page 21

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