the future looks rosé: top alcohol trends in a pandemic

by: Emma Ditterich

Way back when lockdown first started, reports showed that the Aussie stereotype of loving a drink, no matter the occasion was alive and well. I know I was enjoying an extra wine with the additional hour at home at the end of the day (no travel!).

Yet with restrictions starting to ease, liquor consumption has slowed. It may still be some time before we are back ‘to normal’, which means there’s plenty of opportunities for brands and categories to facilitate these occasions in the meantime. So, let’s pop a bottle and dive right in to our top alcohol trends!

 
LEARN OUR SECRETS FOR DRIVING BRAND GROWTH 
 
 

But why is the rum gone? 

To paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow, ‘where did the booze go?’

We can see that many suppliers have been hit hard with the closure of pubs, bars and clubs in this pandemic and according to Australia’s changing purchasing habits, physical stores are not quite making up for it.

Not to mention no weddings or group celebrations to toast to, no footy or sport to watch and no live music to enjoy! Despite widespread media coverage of drinking at home rising, new reports now suggest reduced consumption as we’ve gotten used to life in lockdown. Retailers and online services appear to have fared better with many shoppers turning to online out of necessity or looking for local delivery options from their favourite pubs, breweries and wineries.

Our own data shows that shoppers are currently buying and consuming less beer, wine and spirits than they usually do. In fact, 1 in 5 beer buyers are drinking less beer than usual right now. Call it colder temperatures or a stay-at-home hangover, but it seems that booze is not quite hitting the spot as it used to.

wine trends 2020

How to prepare your brand and raise a glass to this 'new normal'.

While our data shows that 60% of people are keen to get festive at their favourite restaurant, pub, or club once COVID is over, we might not see people rushing out in the same way they once were. There’s a good chance that it’ll take a while before everyone has the confidence to start socialising as ‘close’ to what they once were.

 

"A second wave seems inevitable, I’m going to watch the numbers for a while before I get too confident."       -(Female interviewed by PLAY MR, 40 years).

In the meantime, they’re likely to find ways to feed their need for social time in ways that feel ‘safe’. We're thinking drinks at home or other people’s homes, in parks, outdoor venues and establishments with plenty of open space. So, what else can booze brands do to help us celebrate these occasions in the meantime?

new alcohol drinks 2020

5 key opportunities for brands.

For those playing at home:

 

1. Get creative (and we don't just mean with cocktail recipes).

A wise person once said, “I love to cook with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food.” And why wouldn’t you? With searches for new recipes growing each week, now is the perfect time to reinvent a family favourite with a splash of the good stuff. Just take Instagram influencer Jessica Nguyen’s latest collaboration with Dan Murphy to create a vodka-infused pasta sauce – a lesson in clever marketing and making cooking at home cool with younger shoppers.

For those missing tap beers, why not put on a beer tasting night at home? Grab a couple of beers you’ve been wanting to try, a few beer paddles, invite your favourite drinking buddies and voila! The perfect opportunity to get curious at home and try new things.

 

2. Reinvent picnic packs to cater for (almost) any occasion.

Picnic packs used to be the poor cousin of the charcuterie world. But with fewer opportunities to eat out (for now), there’s an incredible opportunity for brands to tap into this alcohol trend and create their own snack and drink packs for different occasions. What about a footy food and drinks pack? Or a movie night pack? Or a 'just because you’re stuck at home’ pack? We’ll take one of each, thanks.

 

3. Embrace the pull of cooler weather.

Mulled wine and woollies go together, well, like, mulled wine and Woollies (hint, hint). As people change their drinking habits to embrace colder weather or Christmas in July, it’s the perfect opportunity to put DIY mulled wine on the at-home menu. We’re envisioning wine packs paired with spices and easy instructions delivered to your door. Throw in an orange or two (it is citrus season!) and you’ve got yourself a cosy night in. What pandemic?  new alcohol 2020

For those holding out for venues to reopen:

4. Make zero alcohol the hero.

As we navigate this new world of social distancing in peak hour public transport, it’s inevitable that there’ll be more cars on the road. And as venues begin to open up, there’s a good chance that people will be reluctant to put down their car keys. So, think as the designated drivers do. Zero alcohol and low alcohol drinks have been rising in popularity, with the no-alcohol beer category projected to reach 2 percent of total beer sales by 2025, according to CUB (of Carlton Zero fame). Think premium, think full flavour and definitely rethink your mocktail menu. With the likes of Seedlip on the market, there’s no excuse.

 

5. Bring back the beer bucket.

With social distancing likely to crash our happy hours for a while yet, it’s time for brands and venues to work together to create new offers. Although the classic Corona bucket might not have the same ring as it once did, there is something to be said for a bundle deal. This could be as simple as embracing beer jugs or branching out to create different ‘tasting experiences’ so groups can sample the menu whilst allowing staff to prepare for the requests of larger groups (especially when there’s likely to be capacity restrictions in place).

With a chance that table service will be the new norm, it’s a perfect time to get creative with menus and showcase new beers, wines, spirits and zero alcohol drinks to ensure your full range is on display. After all, if your customers don’t know what’s on offer and can’t see the beer taps from their table, how are they meant to sample your finest wares?

beer trends of 2020

How to keep your alcohol brand and business on the front foot in 2020.

Now is the perfect opportunity to embrace a new direction for your business to flourish long after this pandemic is over. We truly know our stuff when it comes to the Australian alcohol industry and our unique facilities in Sydney and Melbourne mean we're perfectly placed for in depth interviews, in-home usage tests and shopper research.

If you’re looking to better understand your new market, evaluate your innovative new product or even test your communications strategy, we're here to help.

Get in touch to get started today using the orange enquiry button to the right at any time.

LEARN OUR SECRETS FOR DRIVING BRAND GROWTH 

 

read it, love it, share it.

about the author

Emma Ditterich

As PLAY’s senior account director, Emma has a zest for consumer and shopper research and has worked with top blue-chip companies in Asia Pacific, Europe, the US and the UK. When she’s not unearthing the next ‘big thing’, overcoming purchase barriers or building category growth drivers, you can find her enjoying the spoils of the Mornington Peninsula with her family and having her powers of negotiation tested by her toddler.

ask the author

related posts

the art of failing forward into successful NPD innovation

Arrow

beyond taste: 6 key sensory testing tips for FMCG product success

Arrow

the reduce, reuse, recycle of innovation

Arrow

PLAY’s 2023 product picks: innovation, indulgence and automation

Arrow

3 tips for turning NPD stage-gate into a benefit, not a burden

Arrow

create a triple win by trying NPD “yes, and” with retail buyers

Arrow

4 Overlooked Opportunities in a Recession

Arrow

recession proof: ramping up innovation during an economic downturn

Arrow

listen or lose! the consumer-led way to avoid new product disaster

Arrow

preventing a costly relaunch misstep

Arrow

“PLAY’s ability to simplify what is sometimes a complex innovation research process worked perfectly for us."

Arrow

"PLAY have shown a strong understanding of research approaches, consumer brands and the FMCG categories we operate in."

Arrow

an action plan for FMCG businesses to avoid the ACCC’s campaign against greenwashing

Arrow

wins & woes in online grocery shopping: the experts weigh in

Arrow

UK HFSS legislation: understanding the impact on FMCG

Arrow

How to rally stakeholders to create a real “portfolio” of innovations (not just 28 line-extensions)

Arrow

how to find actionable NPD innovation insights

Arrow

tips for effective (yet effortless) product concept testing

Arrow

to benchmark or not? that’s not quite the question.

Arrow

4 tested tips to supercharge your NPD success in FMCG innovation

Arrow

Consumer sensory testing: fail forward or innovate fast?

Arrow

ingredient substitution: how to deliver perceived value AND increase profit margins

Arrow

fuelling the pipeline

Arrow

getting to market faster with design sprints

Arrow

package testing: how to spot unmet opportunities

Arrow

why FMCG product development should adopt sensible sustainability

Arrow

product performance analysis and inflation

Arrow

supermarket product shelf testing like you've never seen it before

Arrow

3 tips for packaging research success

Arrow

how to prioritise your research: when to invest or spend less

Arrow

how to use design sprints for superior innovation outcomes

Arrow

how to free up your time and educate your team to create killer concepts

Arrow

get ROI on consumer insights: failsafe tips to prove that innovation research is worth it

Arrow

dairy ideas that deliver to future focussed consumer needs

Arrow

balancing brand recognition with SKU differentiation on shelf

Arrow

understanding shopper response to a new type of cold & flu product

Arrow

using segmentation to inform a better, more consumer-focused approach to innovation

Arrow

identifying matches made in heaven (or hell!)

Arrow

bringing stakeholders and consumers together to develop powerful messaging

Arrow

expedite launch into a new category with innovation sprints

Arrow

pressure testing our product post-launch

Arrow

why products succeed and why they fail

Arrow

FMCG trends: post-pandemic predictions for 2022

Arrow

The new way to market zero and low alcohol products

Arrow

how much does market research really cost in Australia?

Arrow

how to write a product concept that delivers

Arrow

protecting your core range: is anyone 'normal' anymore?

Arrow

video: how do we take the start-up spirit into big business?

Arrow

PLAY's product picks of 2021

Arrow

2021 Product of the Year Awards: why did they win?

Arrow

upfront research: save money now, secure your product's future

Arrow

pivoting in a pandemic: what we can learn

Arrow

is your innovation process agile or fragile?

Arrow

how Amazon is impacting FMCG in a post-pandemic world

Arrow

the biggest soft drink trends for 2021 and beyond

Arrow

the biggest alcohol trends for 2021

Arrow

reimagining convenience with David Jones and bp concept stores

Arrow

busted: what consumers really think about popular product claims

Arrow

retail trends 2020: a COVID-19 Christmas

Arrow

our top 4 tips for running a remote innovation sprint

Arrow

hey Google, how do I use a smart speaker to enrich consumer research?

Arrow

how to find your product's sweet spot with rapid sensory research

Arrow

top natural trends for 2020

Arrow

gen z to boomers: how to market to every age

Arrow

the future looks rosé: top alcohol trends in a pandemic

Arrow

video: all you need to know about in-home product testing in 3 minutes

Arrow

get to market faster with innovation sprints

Arrow

video: FMCG trends and tips to gain a competitive edge during a crisis

Arrow

how you can nail your online offering with digital shopper

Arrow

solved: how to build a powerful brand

Arrow

3 ways sensory research safeguards success

Arrow

the biggest alcohol trends for 2020

Arrow

reaching new highs: Australia’s cannabis industry

Arrow

innovating in a complex category

Arrow

5 ways to deliver effective sensory research (without blowing the budget)

Arrow

5 top tips for a successful seasonal pack promotion

Arrow

how to build a sensory story at the largest CLT facility in Australia

Arrow

optimise path to purchase and protect your margins

Arrow

how eye-tracking will transform your shopper research

Arrow

why mini in-home usage trackers should be in your budget

Arrow

stretching beyond a brand's heartland

Arrow

Gen Z vs. Millennials: 6 ways they’re different

Arrow

sustainability: getting the green light from consumers

Arrow

how to minimise risk for new product launches

Arrow

how to effectively present and share insights within your organisation

Arrow

achieving faster sensory analysis with product clinics

Arrow

5 ways to get your product into consumers' healthy routines

Arrow

getting into the online shopper's basket

Arrow

natural trends: connecting with these consumers

Arrow

FMCG trends: the future of soft drinks

Arrow

video: the benefits of making market research more human

Arrow

concept testing: the basics

Arrow

sensory research: back to basics

Arrow

alcohol trends: tapping into health conscious drinkers

Arrow

innovation research: consumer-led product design

Arrow

packaging research: back to basics

Arrow

FMCG trends: the rise of small, innovative wellness businesses

Arrow

FMCG trends: adapting to an older market

Arrow

FMCG trends: the snacking revolution

Arrow

shopper trends: the changing face of Australia

Arrow

retail trends: leveraging the Chinese 'daigou' shopper opportunity

Arrow

FMCG trends: adapting to plant-based consumer demand

Arrow

packaging research: the e-commerce difference

Arrow

shopper research: applying semiotics for packaging success

Arrow

shopper research: how fear influences purchase decisions

Arrow

product testing: start ABC testing your product

Arrow

shopper research: packaging - mind hack your shopper

Arrow

product testing: is an in-home usage test the solution?

Arrow

shopper research: the paradox of choice

Arrow

putting sydney’s paddy’s market on the map

Arrow

coffee: enabling a strategic product call at lightning speed

Arrow

wild turkey bourbon wins with new pack design

Arrow

market segmentation: the Millennial mishap

Arrow

the beginner's guide to: animated concept testing

Arrow

co-creation: the secret to better packaging design

Arrow

packaging matters: new 'country of origin' food labels

Arrow

naming research: is your product name a winner?

Arrow

food trends: the reduced sugar rush

Arrow

chocolate trends: a sweet or sticky situation?

Arrow

it's 'go time' for convenience retailers

Arrow

online qual research: context collapse

Arrow