Australian off-premise spirits sales rose 8% in June compared to the same month a year earlier, led by a 13% surge in sales of RTDs and cider, according to market research firm Neilsen.

JB Were analyst Ian Abbott said the RTD segment appeared to have stabilised after passing the one-year anniversary of an RTD tax hike.

For the first time in 12 months, RTD volume growth outstripped that of bottled spirits, at 12% and 3% respectively.

Beer volumes increased 8% in June, compared to June 2008. However, Mr Abbott noted the comparisons to year-ago figures were "very easy" so far but would be "progressively tougher" from August. Pricing growth in beer remained consistently strong, at 4%, aided by premiumisation.

Foster's market-leading VB brand continued to shrink, with sales down 1% by value in June, while Lion Nathan maintained its 38% market share by value compared to Foster's 49%.

Coca-Cola Amatil continued to build market presence via its SABMiller distribution joint venture, with sales of Peroni and Miller Genuine Draft surging a combined 51% over the 12 months to the end of June.