The world of adult beverages, which includes beer, wine, and spirits, has enjoyed fairly stable global consumption. Through economic booms and busts consumers remain fairly unfazed, altering their purchases based simply on availability and budgets. However, even given these minor ebbs and flows, there have always been the constants when looking at the world of adult beverages – beer with hot dogs at the baseball game, wine at dinner with family, and mixed drinks on a tropical vacation.
But these constants are becoming less reliable as consumers are exposed to an ever-growing list of options for alcoholic beverages and consumption patterns become less predictable. The rules have changed in the adult beverage industry. With variation in occasion, options, and brand offerings consumers, have opened their palettes (and wallets) to a whole new world of options. This trend has tasked producers and distributors with keenly observing trends and buying patterns and quickly pivoting when tastes and consumption have changed.
Below is a list of four key trends on the horizon for the adult beverage industry:
#1: Fewer Producers Working To Meet Broader Needs
The big players are finding success in making and purchasing niche products to expand offerings and geographic reach. As we see rising global affluence, there becomes an increased demand for adult beverages, and the tastes and occasions can vary widely from more traditional offerings.
#2: In the bar or restaurant, keep an eye on changing consumption patterns
Post-recession consumption is on a welcomed upswing. Changing consumer preferences mean on-premises consumption has changed. The reasons why they are consuming, what they are consuming, and who the consumer is with help to create a profile of customer targets. These targets are becoming less predictable and create a need to closely observe and meet – or, if necessary, alter – consumer demands.
#3: And this trend continues off-premises
Off-premises adult beverage sales means big business – surpassing $104 billion on a global basis. With a greater variety of options in the marketplace and consumers that are experimenting more and more, store shelves feature greater variety and (hopefully) faster turnover. Store owners will need to observe buying patterns in order to offer the most successful and profitable options to meet consumer demand.
#4: Today’s consumer is diverse on all fronts
Not only are today’s adult beverage consumers diverse in the demographic sense – more global and ethnic – they are also very diverse in their tastes and demands. The days of the “go-to” beverage of choice seems long gone. Consumers are now open to trying new options based on occasion, who they are with, and where they are at. In this sense, the consumer is far less predictable. Instead of enjoying a beer at the bar as previously assumed, the young Millennial male may enjoy a cognac instead. And that typical red wine drinker at your bar may want to experiment more with champagne.
These trends ultimately point to changing dynamics affecting each touchpoint throughout the industry. From the production process to distribution in stores and at the bar to consumption at home, at the restaurant or at the bar, all the elements are changing, starting with the changing demands of the “new” adult beverage consumer.
Want to learn more?
Download our one-page overview of the evolving world of adult beverages to understand more about these current trends and potential impacts to your business.