What’s new in the world of drinks?

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Understanding the trends and developments within our clients’ markets is key to ensuring the content we create is relevant. It’s also fascinating to see how change in many industries is virtually the only thing that remains constant!

Take the drinks market for example. The past few years have brought non-stop growth and change for the industry. We’ve had Kombucha, Matcha Tea, hard seltzer, the growth of cans, the growth of craft, the growth of low alcohol, the growth of no alcohol… I could go on.

To be clear, I’m certainly not complaining about drinking. What I wanted to share was some of the key trends and how understanding them makes writing about this sector – or any sector in fact – so much more interesting and relevant. So here goes. A view on the drinks market…

The king is dead. Long live craft


Hyperbole aside, the king certainly isn’t dead, but craft is very much alive. According to the American trade group Brewers Association, there were 7,346 craft breweries in the US as of 2018, with the total number of US breweries standing at 7450. In fact, from 2014 to 2018 there was a 92 per cent growth in craft breweries.

And that’s just the US. According to studies in 2017, the total number of craft breweries worldwide was just over 17,000, which made up over 90 per cent of the total number of breweries in the world.

Looking at it even further, and if you’re a stats geek like me, you may be interested to read that the UK reigns supreme with the most craft breweries per capita. The UK has a whopping 25 breweries per million people, compared with 16 in Germany and only 15 in the US. Who would have thought!

How low can you go?

The nolo – no- or low-alcohol – trend has been gaining popularity for several years now but 2020 is where we will see it really come into its own.

Brewdog started the year off with a bang with its announcement of a fully alcohol-free bar, where everything inside is alcohol free, from craft beer to spirits.

But craft beer isn’t the only sector to see a nolo boom. In 2020 expect to see more options in dining with the rise in nolo wine, premium lagers and low-to-no alcohol draught options in pubs. As far as the drinks market is concerned, 2020 will be the year of low.

The Year of the Claw

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to re-write the Chinese zodiac. I’m instead referring to the 2019 craze that was dubbed the “White Claw Summer”.

The hype for hard seltzer – an alcoholic sparkling water alternative – in the US is real. Sales of White Claw went up 250 per cent in the year to November 2019 and, in September, the company became a victim of its own success and was forced to declare a nationwide shortage.

According to market research company Nielsen, the market for hard seltzer grew massively in 2019, with sales topping $1.3billion. In an attempt to capitalise on the trend, drinks giant Anheuser-Busch has rolled out its own hard seltzer product, Bud Light Seltzer, hoping to claw some of that market share.

What to expect from 2020

Expect to see the continuation of craft growth. While big beer brands might not be going away anytime soon, they are certainly being nudged off the throne inch by inch. Don’t be surprised to see another summer swayed by seltzer and the increase of ‘healthy’ or ‘Drink+’ options dominating the shelves.

While some of these trends may be a flash in the pan, it’s important to keep ahead of the latest developments in our clients’ sectors. We must always be the experts in whatever topic we write about. Whether that is through a simple release or a thought-provoking comment piece, the trends of the year, month or even week matter.

To find out how we can create content to engage with your company’s audience why not give us a call or click here and come over for a coffee and a chat. We would love to find out more about your business – and see if we can help you.

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