As a marketing professional you’ve probably been told a million times that the key to stay ahead of the curve is to keep your finger on the pulse to identify emerging trends that may durably change the face of your industry in the near future. This is probably true. What is also true is that trying to predict what the future has in store has become an increasingly difficult challenge.
We now live in a world where newcomers can become believable challengers in a matter of months and where cutting-edge technologies can turn entire segments upside down. Disruption, it seems, can come from virtually anywhere and, more often than not, from where you least expect it.
We decided to apply this assumption to the alcohol industry, and asked ourselves what global consumer macro trends could reshape the world of spirits in years to come. Here, we take a close look at 3 of the 6 trends we identified in a more wide-scale study dubbed “The Future of Alcohol”.
The Wellness Era
Over recent years, consumers have grown increasingly aware of their health and are adapting their lifestyle and consumption habits to fit with a greener and healthier way of living. This can be directly observed from the prevalence of connected devices to track health and sportive performance, a renewed interest in nutrition topics and the success of new brands such as FitBit. In a world where wellness has become a new ideal, spirits might seem to be destined for the sidelines.
But what if alcohol brands explored these new benefits in order to seduce health-conscious consumers?
This growing demand for products and experiences with wellness benefits seems to have brought to life new offers on the market such as JMB Beverages non-alcoholic wine, a great success in Australia, or Celia Organic Craft Czech Lager that is brewed specifically to be Gluten Free and Vegan friendly.
These examples bring to light a new way of consuming alcohol, a way that might just take away the guilty from pleasure.
Fuelled by a 24/7 access to the biggest festivals, concerts, sporting events and sights of the world via the Internet, younger generations (most notably millennials) have developed a real fear of missing out that makes them not only show up to these events, but also crave new exhilarating experiences that they can share online.
They are increasingly valuing these life experiences much more than material goods. A recent study shows that 78% of millennials would choose to spend their money on a desirable experience rather than a desirable product (Source - Harris poll and EventBrite Inc). Take the success of Smartbox, a brand that allows you to offer an unforgettable experience as a gift, as direct proof of this.
This never-ending search of novelty is already pushing actors within the category to rethink the way they usually do things – notably regarding the bar experience.
In his Toronto based “BarChef”, Frankie Solariks’ creations mix the bar with the kitchen for an array of perfectly presented cocktails and a whole new drinking experience (see photo above). Solarik is reinventing what you expect from a bar with his “culinary concoction” cocktails that are more of a chef’s work than that of a mixologist.
Grey Goose have also started branching out by creating a host of pop-up French bakeries that then transform into Riviera beach clubs to promote their first signature summer cocktail: Le Grand Fizz. All through the season chefs identified by the brand prepared brunch, lunch and dinner dishes served with the new cocktail in these conceptual outlets, where the music is curated by French music label Kitsuné.
Pro Experiences At Home
Ever since Nespresso found astounding success by delivering on the promise of a ‘barista quality coffee’, there has been a growing demand for professional-quality experiences at home. Whether it concerns coffee, sound systems or even clothing care devices like Swash (photo above), consumers seem to be willing to pay more if it means that they can enjoy professional-quality products in the comfort of their cosy apartments.
And while many sectors have caught up with this trend, food and hospitality are the most recent ones to jump on the bandwagon. Restaurants are coming into your dining room via home delivery services like Deliveroo or Foodora. And with French brand La Belle Assiette, you can even get your very own chef to prepare haute cuisine dishes inside your kitchen and serve them to your guests.
So what if consumers’ homes became the new go-to place for the ideal drinking experience?
Leading the way to accomplishing this thought, Bartesian provides a machine capable of creating premium, bar-quality cocktails on demand at the press of a button and from the comfort of your home.
Adding a personal touch, the Tasting Room offers a personalized sommelier experience for wine lovers at home. Consumers receive a kit of 6 different mini-bottles to taste and rate, and depending on successive ratings the Tasting Room develops their “wine profile” and adapts its offer to perfectly fit their tastes.
In a bid to help spirits brands look beyond the horizon and think outside the box, FutureBrand has created “The Future of Alcohol”, an extensive study that brings to life innovation ideas and macro trends that are bound to shape the future of alcohol brands. We have already started meeting with top actors of the spirits world to present the insights and innovation ideas this study led us to and will continue to do so in 2017.
Over the past 20 years Suzanne has developed a unique expertise in brand strategy and design for corporate, FMCG and luxury brands across the globe. She is currently leading a team of 40 talented branding experts from the FutureBrand Paris office to define and create future brand experiences