Marina Velez | January 1, 2024
With 2023 in the rear view mirror, the team at the The Beverage Information Group convened to prognosticate what might transpire in the coming months for the beverage alcohol space.
- Distilled Spirits will continue to be the growth engine for the beverage alcohol industry, followed by the wine and beer categories. Ready-to-Drink, tequila and straight whiskey will continue to be the key segments driving growth.
- The growth of tequila shows no signs of slowing in 2024, but Mezcal will also stay on its upward trend and the awareness and trial of Cristalino will continue to rise.
- The wine and beer categories will continue to face challenges to attract younger consumers and retain industry share. Champagne & Sparkling wines will lead growth for the wine industry while imported, flavored malt beverages (FMBs) and craft will remain growth drivers for the beer industry.
- Despite economic fluctuations, the popularity of premium spirits will continue driven by a preference for fewer, higher-quality drinks that offer a taste and experience of luxury for consumers, particularly younger demographics. However, the level of premium growth may be to a more muted degree in certain beverage alcohol categories, such as Cognac.
- The low- and no-alcohol beverage space will continue to expand as more new product options are introduced that offer consumers the opportunity to experiment with differing ABVs as well as non-alcohol products and cocktails. These alternatives will place an emphasis on high quality, exciting flavor profiles that elevate social interactions/experiences and occasions, much like their alcoholic equivalents.
- The Spritz will retain its meteoric momentum as its perfectly suited to the growing demand for lower-alcohol cocktails. Look for a variety of sparkling spritzes on 2024 menus from sweet and fizzy to dry and citrusy.
- Another trend likely to continue its upward climb is coffee in cocktails. The espresso martini madness of 2023 has led to the introduction of new coffee-and-spirits combinations including The Carajillo, the cold brew Negroni, the Oaxacan Coffee, and Alpine Brew. Classics like White Russians, Irish coffee, and Revolvers are making a comeback.
- Flavored teas are getting in the spotlight as an adaptable ingredient with flavors ranging from spicy to sweet and smoky to floral. Tea-based infused spirits and spiked canned cocktails provide rich, flavorful experiences without the extra sugar.
- Consumers are expressing interest in the exploration of diverse flavors such as floral notes, pineapple, cinnamon, vanilla and the flavor profiles from products that experiment with the aging process.
- International inspiration through global travel and social media, amazing influences from other countries are making their way onto the US wine and spirit scene. More Latin American spirits, liqueurs, and cocktails are gaining traction with American consumers., as well as other diverse options such as falernum (a Caribbean lime and spice syrup), Pisco and Cachaça. Asian-inspired spirits and cocktails are also on the upswing, including whiskeys and Shōchū from Japan and Soju from Korea. Flavors like lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaf, Asian pear, and yuzu are also working their way into Western cocktails.
- The on-premise sector will continue its comeback trend, at levels comparable to 2023, led by spirits as the best performing of the beverage alcohol segments as consumers are more likely to splurge on a special drink when they do go out. The return of happy hours will be a key factor.
- Expect to hear more about immersive bars and experiential drinks. The demand for personalized consumption experiences is on the rise. Experiential appeal or how a customer experiences a beverage is just as important as the beverage itself. Over-the-top drinks are also part of this trend. The presentation of cocktails will incorporate heightened drama, similar to theatrical elements in the culinary world. To truly set your business apart from the crowd in 2024, it’s important to go beyond what’s in the glass. Elaborately finished drinks, charming and knowledgeable staff, and the unique use of ingredients should be top of mind when evaluating the on-premise menu for the new year.