With the current pandemic changing the way we shop, drink, socialize, and everything in between, it’s no surprise to see alcohol trends competing to keep up. Some trends throughout the pandemic have come and gone as we've been evolving through phases these last two years. For some, at-home bartending has slowed as bars and restaurants have reopened. For others, they are keeping those home bartending classes to good use. And let's not forget about the expansion of third-party deliveries as more individuals opt to stay home (especially with the newest Omicron variant). Just as we saw in 2020, 2021 was a year of innovation and new ideas just continue to climb into 2022.
Hard seltzers, growing in brands by 20% each year, have been leading the way in the beverage industry for the last several years. The predictions for 2022 are only showing more growth. The unstoppable White Claw Hard Seltzers continue to take the lead in the hard seltzer category, followed by Truly and in third, Bud Light seltzer. One hard seltzer that hit a hard fall in 2021 is Travis Scott's beverage, Cacti. At the end of December 2021, Anheuser-Busch announced that they were discontinuing Scott’s drink line in the wake of the Astroworld festival tragedy that killed 10 people in the crowd. While there’s no saying what may happen with the rapper's beverage, we know at least three seltzer brands that will be coming in hot and paving the way for all other brands.
Consumers each year are taken aback by innovations with bigger, better, and bolder opportunities. In 2021, Truly includes a never-ending list of flavors and E & J Gallo’s Barefoot Oreo Wine ended the year with a limited-edition surprise that sold out within hours. The new year is expected to include new flavorful beverages. In the past, we often tasted beverages with a slightly fruity taste, and for many, it was all they needed. Now, consumers are looking for more spontaneous options, such as those in the botanical scene. Flavors such as hibiscus, lavender, and elderflower are selected and used to create the perfect cocktail. With the market as competitive as it was in 2021, beverage makers are forced to get creative and differentiate themselves from the others, opting for bigger and bolder selections.
Sustainability and Packaging
There are increasingly more issues with canning beverages. The manufacturing process for recycling, sustainability, and more eco-friendly packaging are all becoming more popular for brands. Several beverage companies that previously used cans or heavy bottles have switched to recyclable options such as Tetra Pak cartons. As stated on their website, “75% of Tetra Pak cartons are made from paperboard, 20% of polyethylene, and 5% of aluminum.” They weigh 60% less than a can, not to mention a bottle too. This not only cuts transportation costs but also lowers carbon emissions.
Ecommerce and Third-party Deliveries
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, everything we knew used to do without a second thought, including going out and shopping for ourselves, no longer felt safe. Everyone started ordering everything online, from groceries to alcohol. E-commerce delivery made sales skyrocket. Jeff Carroll, general manager of Avalara for Beverage Alcohol, states, “More than half (54%) of online alcohol shoppers in the U.S. made their first purchase during the pandemic.” Third-party delivery sites, like Drizly, have grown substantially. These innovative business strategies continue to grow for easier access for both consumers and retailers.
Author : Jennifer Dutton, Blog Writer, DrinkLyte Co. "Helping Grow CPG Brands Beyond Their Potential"