How is the drinks industry changing?

As a hospitality-based marketing agency, we're pretty keen to keep track of current trends in food and …



As a hospitality-based marketing agency, we’re pretty keen to keep track of current trends in food and drink. Our Brand Strategist Diana is always researching to help us to stay ahead of the game. Here’s her breakdown of 5 key findings from a 2019 Fentimans Report about how and why the drinks industry is changing.


1. Flavour is king

The number one driver of consumer preference is flavour. Grapefruit, orange and rhubarb flavoured tonics have all seen a recent surge in popularity. As well as pairing well with a variety of gins, these flavoured tonics work equally well when mixed with other spirits – an added bonus. Consumers are increasingly being tempted to choose light, bright liquids over standard mixers.

 2. Customers are more educated

The internet happened, and people kept putting useful stuff on it. As a result, we have access to more information than ever before. Most of us are all too familiar with the feeling of crawling out of an hour-long Wiki rabbit hole, when all we wanted to know was if Diet Coke was keto-friendly. Information is addictive. Why are you reading this blog? Information!

In response to this, the drinks industry is adapting to more of an ‘everyday connoisseur‘ type of customer. Someone who knows what premium ingredients to look for, and which to avoid, regardless of how premium a brand says they are. Modern customers also expect brands themselves to be educated, and to share values that align with their own. Full transparency in terms of ingredients and production methods is key.


3. People want to feel premium

Consumers these days want higher quality—and often newer—spirit choices. With an average of 6.3 brands in their repertoire, it’s clear that consumers also enjoy a broad range of drinks. There’s definitely an opportunity for restaurants and food-led operators to make premium drinks a more substantial part of their offer.

Currently, growth in the premium drinks industry is being driven by small craft and medium-sized brands, rather than large corporations.

4. Experience

Consumerist culture is in full swing. Purchases aren’t just transactional – they’re aspirational. The average consumer has evolved into an ‘everyday influencer’ who wants to tap into the latest trends and discover new brands. As people place more importance on their experiences, they increasingly seek out activities (such as pop-up venues) that provide a sense of discovery and excitement. Companies that capitalise on the ‘experience factor’ will definitely see a benefit to their brand.

5. Healthy lifestyle

As consumers are striving to achieve a better balance in life, they’re seeking new products and services that can support them on their journies. Retailers currently offer significantly more choice of low and no-alcohol products than bars and restaurants. Perhaps it’s time for bars and restaurants to catch up…

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