Drink it in – what consumers want
The key trends for drinks brands to consider when creating the foundations for an effective engagement strategy.
Consumers now see through meaningless labels and marketing spin. They won’t put up with brands that behave irresponsibly or refuse to be transparent about their processes.
Can every ingredient be traced to an ethical supplier? Is waste being recycled responsibly?
Major innovations in the drinks industry around plastics and ingredients will see waste converted into commodities. Bio-engineering is growing in importance. The concept of using almost all waste to create desirable eating and drinking options is a core element of this trend.
The newly launched Discarded vermouth taps into this trend. Made by steeping cascara leftover from coffee production in alcohol then blending the infusion into the base of a fortified wine along with other botanical’s.
A recent Barclaycard report* shows that we’re collectively spending less on buying things and more on doing things.
People want experiences. They want their minds, bodies and senses to be challenged. Using sight, sound, taste and smell creates unforgettable, unique experiences. For drinks this is key - think about your favourite bar. Why do you like it? It’s as much about the environment and the theatre as the drinks themselves. Drinks brands can design multi-sensory experiences to unlock new ways for their brands to be enjoyed.
Nearly 25% of drinkers say that they are consuming less alcohol compared to last year and it’s highest amongst Millennials. When younger customers do order drinks, they seek complex flavors and preparation methods such as “smoked”, “toasted” or “pickled”.
The popularity of shows like Master Chef and Chef’s Table have pushed this along, with more and more bartenders coming from a professional kitchen background. Inspired mixologists will explore and experiment with techniques borrowed from their peers in the world of fine dining.
From fermentation to extreme locality and the growth of restless ‘palate syndrome’, there is so much the culinary and bartending worlds can learn from each other.
Cocktail culture has grown exponentially in the last few years, egged on by the new generation of 'drinkstagrammers' who bring a fresh vibrancy to cocktail-making and reach an audience that might never have got involved before.
What drinks look like is just as important as how they taste. Social media recognition plays a major role in the drinking habits of younger consumers, and in response, brands and bartenders are experimenting to take their cocktails, and their social reach, to a whole new level.
For people with no formal bartending experience, social media opens up the industry and provides a creative outlet to engage and interact with the wider drinks community. But more than that, it challenges seasoned bartenders to think outside the box and push themselves creatively.
Premiumisation has been a key trend all over the world for the past two decades – and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
Boutique, local and bespoke drinks bring a unique specificity to a customer’s drinking experience. It makes them feel special. It also makes them expectant: high standards of service and bar staff knowledge are part of the deal.
Authenticity comes from telling your brand’s story truthfully.
Authenticity can mean different things for different brands:
The nostalgic backstory for Hendricks and Sailor Jerrys
The cultural context for Guinness
The positive lifestyle change for Huel
Holding on to a conservative, middle market position stops a brand from achieving an identity – if you aim to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no-one (are you listening Marks & Spencer?)
A brand can’t be authentic unless it stands for something.