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Four alcohol trends and innovative companies

Which brands have made the biggest strides in 2021? We've looked at four trends on the rise in the alcohol industry and the brands embracing those trends.

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Which brands have made the biggest strides in 2021?

The alcoholic beverage market is experiencing significant shifts. Covid-19 has meant the closure of many bars and restaurants, while alcohol consumption at home has increased dramatically. And of course, while some wine and spirits categories have seen significant gains, others have stagnated.

Consumer trends we expected to play out over the next decade were condensed into a few months. As the world slowly returns to normal, we still expect many of these trends to continue for years to come.

We've looked at four trends on the rise in the alcohol industry and the brands embracing those trends.

1: Sustainability - how does an alcohol brand achieve this?

How is sustainability defined for an alcohol brand? Is it all about being environmentally friendly? Or does sustainability also cover how alcohol companies treat their employees and their supply chains?

If we go with the standard set by the International Wine and Spirits Commission, we must keep these factors in mind:

  • Repurposing efforts - recycling, alternative energy, reducing plastic
  • Support for local economies
  • Conscious sourcing and use of ingredients

Misadventure Vodka, a brand in California, features sustainability as part of its brand story. "Why wait for a better world when you can drink towards one?" is the proposition that greets website visitors. They boast the first carbon-negative spirit in the world, made from excess baked goods they source from grocery stores - ensuring the product doesn't go to waste. Misadventure has won awards for their vodka, meaning they're not compromising on quality to be sustainable.

2: Authenticity and positivity - more important now than ever

Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on businesses worldwide, but it's also taken its toll on people's health and wellbeing. For that reason, consumers are increasingly motivated to seek out brands that demonstrate authenticity, generosity, and positivity in their communities.

Alcohol brands that have responded to the pandemic with heart and purpose have attracted customers. We see this trend more and more often. Brands that give back to their communities will often see the results reflected in their bottom line.

Irish whiskey brand Jameson has pledged to donate US$500,000 to the charity of the United States Bartenders' Guild to support on-trade members affected by Covid-19.

"We know that there may be some hard roads ahead for members in this community," read their statement. "To our local bartenders: you've always had our backs, and we promise to always have yours."

3: Direct to consumer - eCommerce for alcohol

Online shopping - across all retail sectors - has been on the rise for some time, with many brands offering digital purchasing platforms so their customers can shop at home.  The pandemic accelerated the need for digitization and eCommerce, and had the predictable effect of boosting alcohol consumption at home. The direct-to-consumer (DTC) market is expected to grow substantially. With their popular wine clubs and online shops, Wineries have been at the forefront of this growth.

Babe Wine, a funky brand that offers wine-in-a-can, provides its customers with convenience and accessibility via their online shopping experience. It also means that Babe Wine can control its entire branding experience, including product, packaging, and messaging – without the competition for shelf space.

4: Healthy alternatives - growth beyond the alcohol aisle

Just as candy brands offer sugar-free products, alcohol brands are discovering that low and non-alcoholic counterparts can be just as profitable as the originals.

According to the No- and Low-Alcohol Strategic Study 2021 by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, no/low beer holds a 92% share of the total low/no market. The no/low spirits category increased volume sales by 32.7%, and it is this segment that the IWSR expects to grow most rapidly from 2020 to 2024.

But it's not just about offering a low/no alternative - some alcohol brands are leading the charge to provide healthy alternatives. These beverages, in contrast to their alcoholic counterparts, seek to promote health and wellbeing.

Molson Coors is launching non-alcoholic HUZZAH Probiotic Seltzer in the US. This is a full-flavored seltzer with added probiotics to help support a healthy gut. And, they're promising more innovations in the non-alcoholic category are to follow.


These are just some of the trends we see on the rise in the alcohol industry. Shifts in consumption habits bring the need for agility and speed for market researchers to keep up. Customer insight is fundamental to ensuring your company's alcohol brands remain brand-driven and customer-focused.

Our new Insider's Guide, Five ways to keep consumer insights at the heart of your alcohol brand, brings you the expertise and insights of some of our most experienced team members. Download it today.

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