And 2008 is also likely to be the year in which the on-trade overtakes the take-home sector as the most valuable market for Champagne.
Statistics for the year to Oct 6 show a 7 per cent sales increase for light wine, and a 4 per cent rise in volume. Beer volumes were up 1 per cent but static in value terms and spirits up 3 per cent, with imported whiskey and golden rum achieving the biggest rise in sales.
Vodka is now within a whisker of catching blended whisky. Off-trade sales stood at £705 million, up 10 per cent, while blended Scotch reported a decline of 1 per cent to £735 million.
In the on-trade, vodka is already almost three times as big as blended and malt Scotch whisky put together.
The latest figures broken down
Position Category Sales value Change Off-trade's market share
1 Light wine £4,549m +7% 62%
2 Lager £2,726m +1% 25%
3 Blended whisky £735m -1% 67%
4 Vodka £705m +10% 37%
5 Cider £508m +28% 30%
Source: Nielsen take-home value sales data for year to Oct 6