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Alcohol, Coffee, and Tea: Blurring Lines and Mindful Drinking

March 2019

Wider trends in the beverage industry are bringing alcoholic drinks into contact with coffee and tea more frequently. Hard kombuchas, coffee cocktails, and other alcoholic takes on coffee and tea allow the hot drinks industry to combine its quest towards premiumisation, with the alcoholic drink industry’s expanding interest in mindful drinking options.

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Key findings

Coffee and tea are finding their way into an increasing number of alcoholic drinks. These categories are trying to reach new occasions at the same time as health and wellness trends are weakening the appeal of many common mixers, and encouraging alcoholic drinks consumers to value “mindful drinking” more highly. These distinct but related trends have combined to create opportunity in alcoholic approaches to coffee and tea. Significantly, nearly all of this growth is in cold coffee and tea formats.

Coffee and tea’s naturally healthy status is a great help in appealing to consumers interested in mindful drinking. Taking over mixer occasions from high-sugar and generally less healthy alternatives is the largest opportunity for hot drinks in the alcoholic beverages space, although not the only one.

Meanwhile, naturally fermented products such as hard kombuchas are challenging beer on its own terms, craft beer producers are using coffee as a source of flavour, and high-end coffee cocktails are seeking purely indulgent occasions. These uses show that while responsible indulgence may be at the core, there are a wide variety of potential applications of coffee and tea in the alcoholic drinks space.

Key findings
A changing approach to alcoholic hot drinks
Coffee and tea go into the cold
The different facets of mindful drinking
At the intersection of trends there is opportunity
Breaking down the subtypes of alcoholic hot drinks
Cold brew opens new possibilities for Irish coffee
High-end cocktails as a way to prove coffee’s premium credentials
The Owl’s Brew and tea as a healthier mixer option
Spiked cold brews take aim at energy drinks
The union of craft coffee and craft beer
Hard kombucha : striving to be the healthiest alcoholic beverage
Nitro cold brew: the alcoholic drink experience without alcohol
Conclusions: future directions for hot drinks together with alcohol
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