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Kerve Trends Report S

Top 10 alcoholic drinks trends for 2017

Kerve Trends Report LThis report by UK digital agency, Kerve, examines how the increasing experimentation by brands, and the changing tastes of consumers, influenced the alcohol sector in 2016 and what this may mean for marketers in 2017.

If there’s one theme that’s influenced the alcohol sector over the past few years, it’s craft. The explosion of independent breweries and distilleries over the past decade laid out the principles of craft – small batch, high quality, provenance and experimentation, writes Kerve.

The big brands have been quick to co-opt the design cues and language of these independent producers.

In some cases they’ve simply bought those who were challenging them.

Encouragingly for consumers, the major players also seem to have adopted the independents’ taste for experimentation, in product, packaging and marketing.

Sick of all things establishment and big business, consumers turned their backs on the big faceless homogenous brands that had provided for them and satisfied them, and their parents, for decades.

Consumers thirsted after smaller, more credible brands and business that reflected the values that they had been forced to adapt,” says Elliot Wilson, strategy director at London design agency, The Cabinet.

1. Will the craft bubble burst?

Market research group Mintel found that half of Americans think that brands describing their products as ‘organic’ or ‘artisanal’ are doing so as an excuse to up their prices. So is craft a bubble that’s about to burst?

If consumers are losing faith in artisanship, craft beer would appear to be among the first sectors at risk. The Brewers Association however, is bullishly predicting that craft can increase its current 5.5% share of the US beer market to 20% by 2020.

The big breweries are certainly betting on UK growth, with SABMiller buying Meantime Brewing in 2015, and AB InBev buying Camden Town Brewery in 2016.

There’s no sign of a slow-down among the smaller breweries either, with SIBA reporting that UK independent brewers increased production for the seventh year running in 2016.

The craft ‘bubble’ shows no immediate sign of bursting. In fact, with younger drinkers moving towards premium brands, and Brexit’s weakening of the pound improving British exports, the UK’s craft bubble looks set to get bigger.

Trend-hunting consumers will move on from gin to premium Tequila, but the gin category will continue to grow with greater flavour experimentation and hyper-localisation from independent distilleries fighting to make a name for themselves.

The smaller craft breweries will also become hyper-localised in their business models and distribution. Those breweries who do break through on a national-scale will face stiff competition from the corporates’ ‘craft’ brands and craft acquisitions.

2, Tastes will become more adventurous

Consumers are developing more adventurous tastes for food and drink. Increased travel, the litany of cooking shows, YouTube food channels and Instagram food porn, all expose us to new ingredients and flavour combinations.

The craft beer sector in particular is taking a more-is-more approach to product innovation. Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing teamed up with Ben & Jerry’s to create the fiendishly rich sounding Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale.

Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, Somerset’s The Wild Beer Co has launched beers that taste like bonfires and peanut butter. Mixers are becoming alcoholic drinks in their own right. Pedrino’s sherry based tonic, Fentiman’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer and Henry’s Hard Soda Cherry Cola are blurring the lines between mixer and main drink.

By tapping into customers’ nostalgia for the flavours of their youth, this emerging category is predicted to make a 175% year-on-year increase in sales during 2016.

Nostalgia will continue to play a big part, with craft breweries partnering with food brands and soft drinks to develop new flavour variations, and hard soda continuing to grow, particularly at the premium end of the spectrum….

3. Clean drinking

The continual growth of the health and wellness movement is changing the lifestyle and purchasing decisions of consumers. The number of vegans has increased by 360% in 10 years and ‘clean-eating’ bloggers are becoming household names. Crucially for the alcohol sector, millennials are drinking less than the generations before them.

Breweries, distilleries and wineries are putting fresh and local ingredients front and centre in their response to consumer demand for healthy choices… read more

4. Packaging becomes a product…. read more Read more of its roundup of the report here


The full Kerve drinks trends report can be downloaded on request here.