INTERNATIONAL. Drinks market analyst IWSR has released its latest annual Global Trends Report, which assesses global changes in consumer behaviour, technology, economics and environmental stewardship that are helping to drive evolution and innovation in the beverage alcohol industry.

The new report examines developments and identifies opportunities from across the globe for the beer, wine, spirits and mixed drinks market.

Rémy Cointreau’s The Botanist gin includes 22 hand-foraged botanicals from the Scottish Isle of Islay, which were featured in this recent activation in partnership with Heinemann Australia at Sydney Airport. Craft products are gaining traction with consumers according to the ISWR report.

Many of its findings reflect a number of areas for innovation which are already being exploited in travel retail, and are covered extensively by The Moodie Davitt Report, while a number of the other key trends highlighted could inspire further positive developments for drinks brands operating in the industry.

Craft drinks products with a ‘hyper local spin’, spirits featuring locally-foraged botanicals, drinks with a ‘wellness’ element, ‘smart labelling’ and themed cocktails in food & beverage outlets are among the upward trends highlighted in the report.

The IWSR’s far-reaching analysis of global trends also includes product and category research broken down by region and market, and insights into each category’s future outlook.

New products seeking to break ground in travel retail such as Yoshino Spirits’ Kamiki blended malt whisky range, with a ‘hyper local spin’, will be encouraged by trends identified in the new report

IWSR Drinks Market Analysis CEO Mark Meek said: “We’re proud that the global drinks industry relies upon IWSR data and analytics to make informed decisions every day about their companies and brands, but equally important is discerning consumer habits and market forces that are fuelling the industry and driving growth.

“That is what makes our trends research so valuable and essential to understanding the global drinks business.”

Here are some of the key current and emerging trends identified by IWSR analysts in the report…

Global Sophistication

  • New entry-level brands are helping aspirational consumers in developing markets to discover unfamiliar beverage alcohol categories.
  • In developed markets, premiumisation and an attitude of “less but better” is driving consumers towards crafted products – often with a hyper local spin.
  • More niche and localised flavours are starting to gain traction (for instance, spirits made with locally foraged botanicals).
  • Increasingly niche and personalised experiences are helping curious consumers to connect with their favourite drink categories (e.g. monthly subscription clubs and experiences such as “meet the maker” events at craft distilleries and breweries).
  • Wine education continues to spread in developing markets, especially throughout Asia.

Lifestyle and Ethical Choices

  • The rise in consumer interest in wellness has fuelled development of no- and low-alcohol products, and “better-for-you” beverages that are low-calorie, sugar-free, gluten-free, and that feature natural nutrients and healthy ingredients.
  • Consumers are looking for ways to decrease their environmental impact on a micro level, such as adopting plant-based diets, reducing air travel, shunning plastic waste and consuming water and other natural resources more responsibly. Some consumers now expect drink brands to hold themselves to similar standards throughout the production chain.
  • People are also gravitating to companies and brands that are more authentic in their support of charities or local communities.

Digital Engagement

  • Personalised and interactive marketing campaigns are becoming key.
  • Technological innovations, such as smart labels, are changing the way consumers interact with products, companies and brands.

Social Experience and Inclusivity

  • Drinks tourism, pop-up events, festivals and interactive spaces are encouraging people to plan drinks-led experiences.
  • In today’s restaurant scene, themed cocktails and unique food and drink pairings can be a core component of the dining experience and may even provide a route into novel cuisines.
  • Macro social and economic changes bring new participants into the drinks market, and as a result, products evolve to accommodate the newcomers’ needs and preferences.