Top 10 drink trends to start the decade

Customers are looking for options that are better for their health and the planet and the convenience of having alcohol delivered to their door

Trend 1. Mindful drinking

Consumers are increasingly seeking options that are better for their own health and that of their families, while also being better for the wider community and the environment. One of the key driving factors behind people drinking less is greater mindfulness of their well-being and wanting to opt fora healthier lifestyle.  Younger drinkers are the largest group driving this trend. Whilst sales of beer and wine are dropping, businesses that can adapt to the shifting mindful drinking preferences will be well placed to seize the growth opportunities coming from near-beers, premium soft drinks, mocktails, low- and non-alcoholic options, kombuchas and botanical tinctures.

Trend 2. Spiced and botanical rums

Maybeit’s the influence of gin but momentum is building in the spiced and botanical rums category (80% growth in the last 4 years WSTA).  There has been an influx of interesting new offerings in the spiced and botanical rum market and UK drinkers are showing they have a taste for it.  Everyone is wondering when the gin bubble will burst. Gin is a category that is well understood and creating a bridge between drinkers who understand botanicals and have a desire for them to move across to rum is a smart move strategically. Players such as Brew Dog Distilling and Spirited Union are leading the pack.

Trend 3. Zero alcohol

The trend of moderation is in full swing and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.  20% of 24-29 year-olds don’t drink alcohol at all, and 58% are consuming more low alcohol drinks than they were a year ago (IWSR). What is changing now as the moderation trend gains momentum is the influence it is having on bars and entertainment.  NY now has a burgeoning “sober bar scene”including zero proof cocktail bars and pop-up clubs such as Getaway, Listen Bar and abcV.  In Australia, Hello Sunday is offering morning dance parties for those who want to party without the influence of alcohol. Moderation is becoming a cool and active choice for an image-driven generation.

Trend 4. Alternative wine formats

For so long the 750ml wine bottle has reigned supreme but in today’s fast, convenience-driven and moderation-fuelled environment there are many other acceptable formats.  Canned wines are driving huge growth and frankly some seriously cool labels as well. They suit so many situations where a large glass bottle doesn’t……. festival, beach, camping, by the pool and just ‘cause they look cool. Single-use pre-poured glasses also fit many of the reasons why canned wines work too.  Wineries are doing direct collaborations with restaurants and bars to provide kegs of wine on tap. This is an environmentally sustainable option – they are refillable, cut down on bottles and carbon footprint.  Finally,other countries are getting in on the goon bag act.  It’s taken them a while but “bag in box” a sit’s known in the US is becoming an acceptable format with a year-on-year 10%growth behind it.

Trend 5. Wine consumption continues to decline

Our love affair with wine has been long and strong – over 43% of Australian adults consume it on a regular basis.  However,the next generation doesn’t seem to feel the same way.  Younger drinkers enjoy a range of beverages including cocktails, spirits, beer and ciders. Wine is still enjoyed but not at the same rate as previous generations.  This is a global trend and has started to be a real problem for wine producers. In today’s social media driven world, image is a key driver and wine is often described by millennials as ‘what my parents drink’.  Being able to stay relevant and provide a product that appeals to the next generation is key.  

Trend 6. Cannabis drinks

Whilst not yet legal in Australia, we can’t overlook the enormous growth of cannabis drinks around the globe.  When some of the world’s largest beverage companies have started investing heavily into this category (Budweiser, Constellation and Heineken) you know that when, not if,Australia finally legalises cannabis consumption the first movers in this space will have a huge advantage.  Sales are tipped to hit US $1 billion by 2023.  Cannabis drinks are seen as alcohol substitutes with greater health-giving benefits which closely align with the key mindful drinking trends.

Trend 7. Instant alcohol

The convenience of having alcohol delivered to your door in a timely fashion has kicked up a notch in the last year.  We are seeing a critical mass of major players providing very quick turnaround for alcohol delivery.  Key players include Tipple and Vinomofo with their Uber Eats and Deliveroo partnership. Amazon Australia’s recent liquor licence distribution approval and Wine Depot’s partnership for same-day delivery with Australia Post will start to have a significant impact on the retail scene for booze. Consumers in today’s environment are used to getting everything now and the tipping point of instant alcohol delivery has well and truly arrived.

Trend 8. Hybrid drink innovations

Hybrid drinks that blur category lines are becoming a consistent trend in the liquor market, with close collaboration between breweries, distilleries and winemakers. While still in its infancy in Australia, consumers now can find whisky brands with a hint of IPA beer, rosé ciders, wines aged in whisky barrels and spirits brands venturing into the ‘ready-to-drink cocktails’ space. Corona has just released a hard seltzer, we have alcoholic kombuchas and Penfolds highly spruiked spirited wine with baijiu.  We are entering a fascinating period of drink innovations that provides a wealth of interesting and appealing imbibing options for consumers.

Trend 9. Pink Prosecco

A big change has occurred to the Prosecco category. In late 2019 Italy changed the rules to allow DOC Prosecco wines to have up to 15% Pinot Nero which was not previously possible, so keep an eye out for the introduction of Pink Prosecco in 2020.  The global awareness of Prosecco is very strong and tapping into this growth with a current trend will be huge.  Pink drinks including rosé and pink gin have been driving phenomenal growth in the “pink” category, and Pink Prosecco is expected to provide a potential boost to the Prosecco category of over 75 million bottles annually.  

Trend 10. Grown-up sodas

In the US, hard seltzers is one of the fastest growing categories, recording sales of US$1.1 billion in the last 12 months with 200% growth (Nielson).  Seltzer is not a word familiar to Australian sbut, basically, it’s carbonated water. “They literally can’t make hard seltzer quick enough in the US to satisfy demand” (Danny Braegar, Senior VP AlcoholNielson).  Its popularity is driven by the appeal of offering multiple flavours, low carb, gluten-free and low-calorie benefits.  Lion Nathan released Australia’s first hard seltzer, Quincy, at the end of 2019 with very snappy packaging and hints of fruit at 4%.

Stephanie Duboudin, Managing Director

Food and Wine Insights