From the apocalyptic levels of pandemic disruption to the joyous return to hospitality venues, social gatherings and revenge conviviality, the alcoholic drinks industry has faced genuinely unprecedented volatility in the past couple of years. As the macroeconomic horizon darkens once more, what is the state of the industry and what are the key themes emerging as the dust is settling, and will it be able to reassert its resilience?
Historically high savings rates, comparatively low unemployment figures and, most importantly, the pent-up demand for socialising and communal celebration after years of lockdowns provided huge momentum in the initial stages of the recovery. However, severe inflationary pressures could partly derail recovery in the short-to-medium term.
Pandemic disruption forced the industry to belatedly embrace the digital age, where historically it had been underdeveloped when compared with other key fmcg industries. As the shift to online sales is now becoming embedded, the next digital frontiers will be in the virtual universe and blockchain technology.
Indulgence and moderation, premiumisation and economising, convenience and adventurous experimentation – seemingly antithetical themes and polarised trends – will exert an impact simultaneously, as the industry is going through a period of transition.
The rise of mindful drinking, moderation initiatives and “dry” venues, retailers and events predated the pandemic but the trend accelerated further during the crisis. As it has now fully entered the mainstream, functionality cues will come under the spotlight.
As the alcoholic drinks industry explores non/low alcohol horizons, soft drinks behemoths are hesitantly entering the alcohol arena. Holistically tackling total beverage occasions and tailoring offerings accordingly will drastically shake up historic taboos and strategies.
Alcoholic drinks is the aggregation of beer, wine, spirits, cider/perry and RTDs.See All of Our Definitions
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