6 Trends Beverage Marketers Can’t Ignore

Within the past ten years or so, the drinking habits of Americans shifted from an emphasis on soft drinks to bottled water, wines, and spirits. A number of widespread and smaller niche trends abound in wine, beer, and spirits right now, affecting consumer drinking habits and influencing how people celebrate.

Take a look at some of the biggest beverage trends that impact the celebrations industry:

1. Low-calorie drinks: More women want their beverage of choice to have lower alcohol content and fewer calories. The result is a growing and diverse product offering that appeals to their needs, such as the SkinnyGirl beverages. Additionally, light beers have reached record-low calorie counts and low-cal mixers arecrowding store shelves.

2. Exotic flavors: Flavors such as Acai, kiwi-mango, and pomegranate have taken over the spirits industry with flavored vodkas and coolers. These refreshing drinks are ideal as specialty cocktails for a summer gathering, bachelorette party or bridal shower.

6 Trends Beverage Marketers Can’t Ignore  image 6 Trends Beverage Marketers Can’t Ignore

3. Craft beers: Sales for beer as a whole were up in 2012 over past years, and sales specifically of craft brews grew 15% last year. New breweries, craft beer festivals, and beer tasting parties are popping up all over the U.S and being met with intense popularity. With beer tasting parties, the host buys a selection of beers from a brewery of choice and guests can enjoy a beer flight at the party. Some parties cast votes for their favorite brew or do blind tastings and have guests guess what they’re drinking. People are turning to kitchen stores for beer tasting glasses and blogs for inspiration on be creative with their craft brew party.

4. Wine: Wine consumption had the 2nd biggest growth between 2001 and 2011, only after bottled water. Wine has always been a staple at celebrations, but its popularity has surged in the past decade providing ample opportunity for wine brands to get their name in front of this growing audience.

5. Classic drinks: There’s a retro revival of vintage cocktails, specifically whiskey in the past few years. Kentucky distilleries are scrambling to keep up with the demand and are investing $150 million on new construction. This trend can be seen in the rise of vintage cocktail parties circa the Mad Men era, featuring drinks like Don Draper’s favorite, the old fashioned. These parties are especially popular, not just because of Mad Men’s rise to fame, but because women are drinking more whiskey these days. Female membership of the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society has jumped to about 13%, up from 2% when it started 20 years ago.

6. Beverage pouches: Drinks that come packaged in pouches, such as wine, mixed drinks and spritzers, surged in popularity last year. According to Nielsen, beverage pouch sales jumped 154% in 2012. Delivering beverages in this manner makes it easier for everyone – those hosting and those drinking. Pouches can be brought on the go to a beach party, or simply tossed in a cooler on the back porch, which can be an advantage over glass wine bottles.

Celebrations present a $38 billion opportunity for beverage marketers. Brands who zero in on these trends will find an engaged audience that is actively looking to buy a specific product. Learn more in our beverage white paper about the link between alcohol and celebrations and what the industry can do to better reach consumers who spend billions on alcohol every year.

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