Loved by some wine critics and vilified by as many others for being a bargain bucket brand. Either way, BRL Hardy's Banrock Station has been one of the most talked about wines since its launch in January 1999 and it has paid off.

According to AC Nielsen's recent survey of the UK's biggest brands 2000 (published in conjunction with Marketing magazine), the eco-aware white wine became the second fastest growing brand in the UK, leaping a mammoth 164.8%, and beating UDV's Blossom Hill, which took third place with a 143.3% rise.

Top 20 Fastest Growing Brands

Brand £(m) %Change Sector Rank Company Adspend(£) Creative agency* Media buyer*
1 Hipp Baby Food 5-10 199.2 - Hipp 180,275 Endacott Initiative Media
2 Banrock Station 20-25 164.8 10 BRL Hardy Wine 30,520 N/A AMS Media
3 Blossom Hill 25-30 143.3 8 UDV 204,291 Delaney Potter Cawley BJK&E Media
4 Yeo Valley 20-25 85.6 8 The Yeo Valley Organic Company N/A N/A N/A
5 White Lightning 15-20 69.8 4 HP Bulmer N/A N/A

N/A

6 Rosemount 40-45 69.1 5 Rosemount Wine Estates 7,947 Direct (In House) Advertising Direct (In House) Advertising
7 Oakdale 0-5 66.6 9 The Jolly Baker N/A N/A N/A
8 Amoy Oriental Foods 10-15 65.9 - HP Foods 1,963,118 Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy Carat
9 Winalot 35-40 61.2 - Friskies Petcare 3,009,545 McCann-Erickson OMD UK
10 Dancake 5-10 58.5 6 Carrs Foods N/A N/A N/A
11 Lindemans 35-40 52.9 6 Southcorp Wines 2,277 BMP DDB OMD UK
12 Memory Lane 5-10 50.8 7 Memory Lane N/A N/A N/A
13 Goodfella's Frozen Pizza 45-50 49.0 - Green Isle 2,093,244 N/A BBJ
14 Dry Blackthorn 10-15 46.4 7 Matthew Clark 84,910 D'Arcy BBJ
15 Loyd Grossman Pasta Sauce 5-10 44.6 - Chivers Hartley 569,525 FCA Media Shop
16 Dr Pepper 45-50 42.8 - Coca-Cola Company 4,595,368 Publicis Zenith Media
17 Old El Paso Mexican Foods 25-30 41.4 5 Pillsbury 1,292,490 Leo Burnett Carat
18 Johnsons Baby Wipes 20-25 39.7 7 Johnson & Johnson 871,510 Lowe Lintas BMP Solutions In Media Group
19 Scrumpy Jack 15-20 37.3 3 HP Bulmer 526,329 TBWA GGT Simons Palmer MindShare
20 Ambi Pur 35-40 37.0 6 Sare Lee Household 2,964,406 Overseas Agencies Zenith Media

Source: AC Nielsen

Banrock Station's achievement is more impressive once the adspend between the two brands is compared. UDV spent £204,291 on Blossom Hill's poster and print campaign, on a national and a regional level, whereas BRL Hardy invested only £30,520 in a short national cinema, press and London Underground campaign during the autumn of last year.

Banrock's advantage came through linking the brand's image with environmental projects such as the Wine and Wetland Centre in Southern Australia and a donation to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust for every bottle or box of wine sold in the UK.

Top Wines 2000 Listing

Brand 2000 Listing(£m) % Change On-Trade(£m) % change Company Adspend(£)
1 Ernest & Julio Gallo 85-90 22.0 N/A N/A E&J Gallo Winery 1,447,893
2 Jacobs Creek 70-75 24.3 0-5 0 Orlando Wyndham 348,810
3 Hardy's 70-75 33.3 0-5 0 BRL Hardy Wine 522,945
4 Stowells of Chelsea 40-45 28.1 140-145 1.2 Matthew Clark 3,600
5 Rosemount 40-45 69.1 N/A N/A Rosemount Wine Estates 7,947
6 Lindemans 35-40 52.9 N/A N/A Southcorp Wines 2,277
7 Penfolds 25-30 2.8 N/A N/A Southcorp Wines N/A
8 Blossom Hill 25-30 143.3 0-5 N/A UDV 204,291
9 Le Piat D'or 20-25 -14.6 0-5 16.4 Piat Pére Et Fils 9,193
10 Banrock Station 20-25 164.8 N/A N/A BRL Hardy Wine 30,520

Source: AC Nielsen

One of Australia's other blockbuster brands Rosemount, however, dropped one place in this year's table, but sales were up 69.1%. And, Southcorp's Lindemans was up 52.9% but fell five places to the UK's 11th fastest growing brand.

On the back of successes like these, the wine sector out-performed the beer and cider sectors (in off-trade sales) during 2000. E&J Gallo topped the wine league with sales of £85-£90m, ahead of Jacob's Creek even though its growth rate was 24.3% compared to Gallo's 22%.

Top Cider 2000 Listing

Brand 2000 Listing(£m) % Change On-Trade(£m) % change Company Adspend(£)
1 Strongbow 45-50 23.4 285-290 6.9 HP Bulmer 4,120,120
2 Olde English 15-20 -0.6 0-5 -44.3 Matthew Clark N/A
3 Scrumpy Jack 15-20 37.3 40-45 -10.4 HP Bulmer 526,329
4 White Lightning 15-20 69.8 0 0 HP Bulmer N/A
5 Woodpecker 15-20 5.3 65-70 -1.4 HP Bulmer 747,113
6 Diamond White 10-15 2.6 20-25 -0.2 Matthew Clark 190,781
7 Dry Blackthorn 10-15 46.4 130-135 0 Matthew Clark 84,910
8 Aston Manor Frosty Jacks 5-10 -10.0 N/A N/A Aston Manor N/A
9 Bulmers Original 5-10 29.1 0-5 -10 HP Bulmer N/A
10 Black Oak 5-10 2.7 N/A N/A HP Bulmer 2,509

Source: AC Nielsen

Again the adspends of three sectors showed consumer tastes are changing but also that certain brands are now established in the nation's consciousness. The overall wine spend was £2,577,547 and cider's only reached £5,672,670, compared to beer's formidable £66,274,527.

Once Whitbread's and now Interbrew UK's Stella Artois made the most ground, moving from sixth to fourth largest brand in the UK and beating Persil, Muller and Andrex Toilet Tissue along the way. It now ranks as the UK's most popular beer with sales of £255-£260m, overshadowing its closest rival Carling by over £100m. The irony is that these two brands may soon be stablemates if Interbrew receives the greenlight for its acquisition of Bass Brewers, following its acquisition of Whitbread Beer Company. Next year's table will be very interesting.

Top Beer 2000 Listing

Brand 2000 Listing(£m) % Change On-Trade(£m) % change Company Adspend(£)
1 Stella Artois 255-260 23.6 620-625 15.1 Whitbread 5,539,885
2 Carling 145-150 20.8 1200-1205 5.9 Bass Brewers 5,178,819
3 Budweiser 100-105 8.4 325-330 -8.7 Anheuser-Busch 13,135,168
4 Foster's 90-95 27.9 1055-1060 6.7 Scottish Courage 8,904,286
5 Heineken 70-75 20.0 450-455 -0.9 Whitbread 8,594,426
6 Kronenbourg 1664 55-60 31.9 275-280 1.5 Scottish Courage 7,270,087
7 Beck's 50-55 35.1 195-200 -3.5 Scottish Courage 5,620,043
8 Miller Pilsner 50-55 -0.1 105-110 3.6 Scottish Courage 6,299,181
9 Boddingtons Draught Bitter 45-50 16.8 175-180 -5.3 Whitbread 4,754,277
10 Tennent's Lager 45-50 2.6 260-265 -0.4 Bass Brewers 978,355

Source: AC Nielsen

In spirits, Diageo's portfolio still dominates with Bells 8 year the tipple of the nation. Adspend was only £3,600 and the brand's growth collapsed 5.2% but still made £110m-£115m in sales. The two growth spirits this year though were Baileys Irish Cream, which rose 23.6% (£45-£50m) and William Grants & Sons core brand Grants blended Scotch up 18.7% (£30-£35).

Top Spirits 2000 Listing

Brand 2000 Listing(£m) % Change On-Trade(£m) % change Company Adspend(£)
1 Bells 8 Year 110-115 -5.2 185-190 0 Diageo 3,600
2 Smirnoff Red Label 90-95 6.2 435-440 13 Diageo 2,441,745
3 The Famous Grouse 85-90 -2.7 165-170 -2.2 Highland Distillers 2,772,168
4 Gordons 80-85 -0.5 195-200 0.8 Diageo 2,982,949
5 Teachers HC 60-65 9.4 25-30 -8.3 Allied Domecq 63,800
6 Bacardi Carta Blanca 60-65 6.4 220-225 -0.2 Bacardi & Co 3,438,787
7 Baileys Irish Cream 45-50 23.6 100-105 12.9 Diageo 303,849
8 William Grants 30-35 18.7 15-20 -7.2 William Grant 3,609
9 J Grants Red Vodka 30-35 -6.0 10-15 0 Glencatrine Bond N/A
10 Martell VS 25-30 0.7 75-80 -1.1 Seagram 53,156

Source: AC Nielsen