With sales having declined since 2009, beer finally returned to a positive trajectory in 2012 thanks to the premiumisation trend, with consumers embracing dark beer (especially craft versions) and premium lager, resulting in overall positive alcoholic drinks sales. However, further interest is also being shown in other categories as postmodern consumers are seeking differentiation and are becoming more adventurous with their drinks choices. Spirits, wine and in particular cider/perry and RTDs/high-strength premixes registered strong growth as consumers mixed and matched between beverage options and embraced innovation.
Premiumisation and flavourisation across all alcoholic drinks categories
Post-recession, strong trading-up trends, observed particularly in spirits and beer, were driven largely by millennials and baby-boomers, fuelled by increased marketing spend, economic recovery and innovation at higher price points. Flavour innovation flooded the alcoholic drinks landscape across all price points. While vodka has long been the frontrunner, other drinks, including dark spirits (beverages distilled from grains such as brandy, whisky and bourbon), wine, rum, tequila, gin and even beer have now jumped on to the flavour bandwagon so as to offer differentiation in the fiercely competitive alcoholic drinks industry. Manufacturers continued to push non-traditional flavours and hybrid drinks (eg mixing wine, beer and spirits for additional flavouring).
Anheuser-Busch InBev regains momentum through diversification
Brewers Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors remained the leading alcoholic drinks players by far but also showed signs of expansion beyond beer. They embraced change by investing in the small but dynamic cider/perry category through either their own brands (Michelob Ultra Cider from Anheuser-Busch InBev) or by buying an existing one (MillerCoors bought Crispin Cider). Anheuser-Busch InBev also expanded into malt-based RTDs, capitalising on the stronger demand for flavoured beverages with the highly successful Bud Light Lime-A-Rita.
Parapharmacies and convenience stores emerge as strong channel partners
Both of the above-mentioned retailing channels have made great efforts to expand their ranges of alcoholic drinks and cater for the demands of the postmodern consumer in terms of offering different brands and sweet and flavoured drinks. Parapharmacies have also been pushing their quality credentials and have expanded their range of wine and RTDs, even organising in-store tasting sessions and displaying luxury spirits brands. Legal-drinking-age millennials and females are emerging as core wine shoppers at convenience stores, looking for easy-to-drink, everyday wine options.
Differentiation and innovation to further drive sales
The future is positive for alcoholic drinks sales thanks to innovation, experimentation and category expansion. The sole strategy of flavour innovation could potentially cause confusion if marketers fail to accurately communicate and describe their flavours on product labels and other communication platforms. The boundaries between alcoholic beverage types is driving a reactionary trend, with basic, simple, high-end “no-nonsense” beverage types in reaction to the increasing presence of hybrid, highly mixed and processed drinks.
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The Alcoholic Drinks in USA market research report includes:
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- Detailed segmentation of international and local products
- Historic volumes and values, company and brand market shares
- Five year forecasts of market trends and market growth
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Our market research reports answer questions such as:
- What is the market size of Alcoholic Drinks in USA?
- What are the major brands in USA?
- Have there been any alcoholic drinks legislative changes over the past 12 months?
- How is the alcoholic drinks industry affected by the recession?
- What is consumed more; beer, wine or spirits?
- What have been the key trends seen in new product developments?
- Do alcoholic drinks consumers want value for money or added value?
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