As micro offerings enter the mainstream against a sobering backdrop of sustained economic weakness and macro maturity, wine is finding its legs, English gin is rising as a flagbearer of momentum within spirits, cider is facing the gravitational pull of a ferocious competitive environment while RTDs continue embracing evolutionary adaptability. Which category will be calling the shots as macro volatility and changing drinking habits form an explosive cocktail?
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While the craft segment is providing a groundswell of optimism in mature markets and non/low alcoholic variants and flavoured launches tap into niche opportunities, top line mainstream lager growth remains largely sobering.
Fortified wine and vermouth gain some traction in the US on the back of the resurgent cocktail culture and the segment’s cyclical popularity, champagne regains ground in its relentless fight against booming other sparkling wines and red varietals dominate the still light grape segment, which is seemingly running out of steam.
As liqueurs are being passed the baton of innovation with flavoured extensions and radical experimentation stealing the limelight, other major spirits categories point to more trouble ahead. Beyond maturity-induced declines in categories such as vodka and macro weakness impacting Scotch, premiumisation is still the key driver.
As previously highlighted, cider retains its overall dynamism as it reiterates its position as an ideal escape hatch for saturated beer markets. Sales in the US are finally reaching critical mass and escape velocity on the back of a healthier profile, heritage credentials and solid marketing support as competition from the emergent hard soda segment gets fiercer.
Having repeatedly proven its adaptability credentials, the category is currently driven by a plethora of malt-based RTD launches in mature beer markets such as the US while still providing an entry level stepping stone for upwardly-mobile drinkers in emerging nations.