Almost Everything You Wanted to Know About Craft Beer Tourism Marketing

I have never drunk beer, much less for pleasure.
A lifetime ago, I was ‘prescribed’ a daily
bottle of stout and peanuts by an ancient
baby health nurse in order to increase breast milk supply.
I’m not sure that counts as drinking for pleasure.

I had my first taste of craft beer at Fine Food Australia in September this year. What tempted me was Kansom’s Abalone Beer, the offspring of Kansom Australia Abalone’s partnership with Red Duck Micro Brewery in Ballarat. I didn’t know you could make beer from abalone, much less infuse it with magical ingredients like Samphire, Enoki Mushrooms or Black Truffles.

I was blown away by the ‘nose’ and the complexity. As my senses were awakened to this new experience, gastronomer mind raced with ideas of how to pair these elixirs with different foods. Then marketing mind began to think about the exponential growth in craft beers, craft breweries and craft beer tourism. Life-long learner mind decided to see what scholarly research existed on the whole craft beer thing. Joyfully, most of the papers I found were published in 2017.

Types of Craft Beer Tourism

A study involving UK, Italy and Spain found that these were the most commonly perceived forms of Craft Beer Tourism:

  • Craft beer trails/tours (several visits on the same day)
  • Craft beer/food pairings – craft beer in combination with food
  • Craft brewery visitation in combination with architecture, food, wine, heritage etc
  • Tastings, open craft brewery visits
  • Fairs, brewing days, food fairs and similar events

Italian and Spanish participants were more interested or aware than UK participants in craft beer and food pairings, tastings or visits to the craft beer factory but their main challenge was the lack of a local beer drinking culture. The UK and Australia have no such challenge. My observation is that Australia now just really starting to explore the pairing foodscape but much more can and should be done in this event space.

Profile of a Craft Brewery Visitor in the US’s More Mature Market

A paper on beer tourism in Central Kentucky found that the profile of a craft brewery visitor was: white male, approximately 33 years old, well-educated (40% 4 year degree) (35% graduate training to doctorate), mean income USD83,000, mean number of visits to a particular brewery 3.2, travelled long distances and almost half were staying overnight in the surrounding area.

A North Carolina study found that 38% of respondents were not local and of those 36.7% indicated the main purpose for their trip was the beer. Their profile was male, approx 38 years old, single or married, Bachelor or Master’s degree with income ranging from USD40,000-119,000, 60% staying overnight for an average of 3 nights, with most staying with friends/relatives or hotel/motel and visiting an average of 2 breweries, travelling with friends or spouse.

Experience Preferences of Craft Brewery Visitors

The Kentucky study found the top reasons for visiting a brewery are:

  • To taste new beers
  • To be with family and friends
  • To experience Kentucky beers
  • To buy beer

Males reported a stronger mean interest in tasting new beer, experiencing Kentucky beer and buying beer. Females reported a stronger mean interest for using breweries to be with friends and family, buy beer and get away for the day/weekend.

Motivational Factors for Visiting Craft Breweries

In the Kentucky study respondents reported they were motivated to learn something new and that breweries with a variety of beers, speciality or seasonal beers offered an authentic experience that expanded their palette. There was a strong desire to support local businesses and purchase local craft beer when possible, indicating the participation in a brewery tour is perceived as a true local experience.

The North Carolina study compared beer-focused with other brewery tourists and found the top five motivational factors were related to ‘the craft beer experience’, enjoyment, socialising and beer consumption:

  1. To taste new beer
  2. To experience North Carolina beer
  3. To increase my beer knowledge
  4. So I can be with my family
  5. To buy beer

The study suggests that beer-focused and other brewery tourists should be considered as separate target markets. ‘Other brewery tourists’ are more likely to stay overnight.

Brand Loyalty Factors

A 2015 study in North Carolina compared brand loyalty across two craft breweries found the factors that most influenced brand loyalty were firstly, ‘connection to the local community,’ secondly, ‘desire for unique consumer products’ and thirdly, ‘satisfaction.’

‘Connection to the local community’ or ‘neo-localism’ is the “deliberate seeking out of regional lore and local attachment by residents (new and old) as a delayed reaction to the destruction in [the] modern [world] of traditional bonds to community and family.” According to Murray and Kline, neo-localism is about reconnecting with place (by choice and not necessity) and cultivating a relationship with local identities while boosting local economies.

The ‘desire for unique consumer products’ speaks to our need for uniqueness and how we choose products which are rare and are perceived to help create a unique self and social image. We are drawn to products whose brand personality reflects our own perception of ourselves or how we would like to be perceived.

‘Satisfaction’ as a factor of brand loyalty speaks to consumers’ needs to maximise rewards and minimise costs (or risks) in switching brands. Most obvious of the factors, ‘satisfied’ customers are more likely to be loyal to a product.

Implications for Marketing

Young adults are likely to be active on social media, so creating and maintaining profiles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook should help to bring in more customers. Breweries should focus on providing a wider selection of seasonal or limited edition beers. Brewery tours should provide information on the beer making process, history of their establishment and expand on the ‘local’ theme such as where the ingredients and inspiration for the beer came from.

Messages to beer-focused tourists should emphasise and describe the experience, (tastes, history, knowledge), consumption/availability, while showing how enjoyment and socialisation needs can be met.

Craft breweries and brew pubs should focus on directly approaching beer-focused tourists through club memberships, events, repeat-visit incentives, product quality and value of the brewery experience to increase consumer knowledge and confidence.

Destination marketing organisation’s marketing to ‘other brewery tourists’ should emphasise the enjoyment and socialising aspects of beer tourism and how it adds to their overall vacation experience.

Tip of the Craft Beer-berg

These are just a smattering of the insights recent academic research reveals on the burgeoning craft beer tourism industry. Let me know if you are interested in scholarly research on craft beer tourism’s role on placemaking, (including rural destination development in Australia), the role of DMOs, collaborators and tourism support.

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

Watermelon, Breakfast Beer & Avo Ale – Highlights US Beverage Report Q3

Watermelon a Trend

Watermelon is gaining popularity around the world as a flavor for food and beverages. Watermelon is fresh-tasting, refreshing, and loved by all ages. Beverage categories which have recent launches with watermelon-flavor are juice-based drinks, sparkling beverages, shandies, cocktails, mocktails, malt-flavored beverages, energy drinks, and protein drinks. Watermelon is also trending for craft alcoholic beverages including a watermelon mule, watermelon Margaritas, watermelon sangria, watermelon mojito, and even watermelon beer. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 14, 2017)

Implications of the Sugary Drink Tax Tested in Philadelphia

A study examined the purchases of sweetened beverages in the Philadelphia market after the city instituted a new tax on January 1. The research compared sales of various beverages both inside and outside the city limits from January-May in both 2016 and 2017. The overall findings are that the Philadelphia sugar tax has significantly affected beverage sales within the city limits and increased sales at stores outside the city as people travel to the suburbs to purchase their sweet drinks. Specifically, sales volume of carbonated soft drinks fell 55% inside the city and rose 38% outside. Dollar volume of energy drinks declined 44% in the city core while ready-to-drink coffees and teas were down 37% and refrigerated juice drinks were down 47%. (Source: Beverage Industry, August 22, 201

BudLight and Pepsi Proactively Promoting with Snapchat

BudLight and Pepsi are both promoting their beverages via Snapchat as part of the National Football League season. Pepsi is adding a Snapcode on specially-marked beverage and food packaging. When the code is snapped, consumers will be randomly assigned an NFL Team. If that team wins a game that week, the participant will receive rewards. Everyone will be entered into weekly drawings for prizes. Bud Light is selling custom cans and bottles for 28 NFL teams. When customers take a photo of the packaging, they are entered into a sweepstakes for Super Bowl tickets and unlock team-specific Snapchat filters and a Bud Bowl Snapchat game. (Source: MarketingDive, August 18, 2017)

Breakfast Beer

Brewers are introducing morning-friendly beers to appeal to diners at breakfast and brunch who may be looking for something different or want a lower-alcohol drink earlier in the day. Approximately 60% of adults like to drink an alcoholic beverage at weekend brunch and 21% drink beer during the dining occasion. Beer at brunch encourages people to consider beer at other times of the day and facilitates new food pairings. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2017)

Heirloom Cider Apple Varieties

Heineken’s Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders brand introduced Strongbow Artisanal Blend. The new flavor is made with heirloom cider apple varieties which are cold-pressed and blended together. A massive consumer sampling of four-pack mini-cans with a suggested retail price of $1 will begin in September to drive awareness and trial. The launch will also be supported with a national television advertising campaign, in-store merchandising, digital marketing, and public relations efforts. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 11, 2017)

Avocado Ale

Angel City Brewery will host its fifth annual Avocado Festival, a two-day event featuring all things avocado including the brewer’s Avocado Ale. Avocado Ale is a creamy Kölsch-style beer brewed only once a year for the festival. The beer is made with avocado, honey, cilantro, and lime juice and has a very short shelf-life. (Source: Brewbound, July 19, 2017)

Storytelling in Beer Promotion

New Belgium Brewing has launched a new video series. Greater Lengths focuses on the people that go the extra mile with the goal of showing every journey has a great story. The first videos in the series feature the Boise Bicycle Project as well as stories of some New Belgium’s employee-owners. Additional videos will be added to their YouTube channel throughout the year. (Source: Brewbound, July 20, 2017)

Budweiser commissioned an eight-minute film directed by Tony Fulgham which profiles three Bud drinkers who live in the Pacific Northwest. (Source: Adweek, August 1, 2017)

US Craft Brewery Growth Slows

A new report from the Brewers Association discloses that production growth for U.S. craft breweries was 5% for the first half of 2017, the slowest rate recorded in 13 years. The last time production for small and independent breweries – defined as less than 25% owned by a noncraft beer company and producing less than six million barrels annually – was 2004 when 1,400 craft beer companies brewed 5.8 million barrels of beer. In 2016, more than 5,200 companies produced more than 24.5 million barrels. If the growth rate holds for the year, 25.8 million barrels of beer is expected. (Source: Brewbound, August 1, 2017)

Online Alcohol Delivery 58% Macro Brands, Craft Beer preferred by 30 year olds

Online alcohol marketplace Drizly reports millennial consumers who have used its app which arranges delivery of alcoholic beverages have steadily been shifting their dollars towards beers brewed by large breweries (aka “macro” brands) and their corporate-owned craft brands. Macro brands represented 58% of beer sales on Drizly during the second quarter of 2017, despite the fact that 90% of the beers offered through the app are craft brews. Craft beers are preferred by Drizly customers in their 30s. (Source: Brewbound, August 24, 2017)

Bottled Water Top Selling Beverage Based on Volume

Bottled water is now the top selling beverage in the U.S. based on volume. Bottled water’s sales increased 8.5% in 2016. The category’s share of stomach has increased from 15.2% in 2011 to 20.5% in 2016. The number one reason for the category’s success is consumers’ focus on health and wellness. Dollar sales of bottled water increased 6.4% to nearly $16.5 billion. While still water posted 6.2% sales growth to $11.7 billion in retail stores, sparkling water surged 16% to $2.3 billion. Premium and ultra-premium waters are also driving sales. Top still bottled water brands are Dasani (9.6% market share), Aquafina (9.5%), and Nestlé Pure Life (8.1%). The leading sparkling water brands are Sparkling Ice (16.6%), La Croix (12.4%), and Perrier (10.6%). The category is forecast to hit $23.8 billion in sales by 2021, a 44% increase. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Coca-Cola using AI and Geofencing to Target Type of Shopper

Coca-Cola is using machine learning to figure out consumers based on any available information. A recent digital signage pilot with Albertsons Supermarkets served up ads based on data gathered from nearby cell phones. On-premise beacons measured how quickly shoppers were walking to determine what kind of shopping trip – fill-up or fill-in – and then marketing to that type of trip. (Source: VentureBeat, July 5, 2017)

Carbonated Soft Drinks in Decline for 12th Consecutive Year

Carbonated soft drinks continued to struggle in 2016 with volume declining for the 12th consecutive year. The decline is expected to continue with a 1.4% compounded annual rate through 2020. Carbonated soft drinks accounted for 19.8% of share of stomach in 2016, down from 22.7% in 2011. Dollar sales of carbonated beverages sold in stores declined slightly (0.1%) last year to $27.6 billion. Ginger ale went against trend with a 9% sales increase last year due to consumers opting for the functional and digestive health benefits of ginger. Natural soft drinks also recorded a 16% growth rate, though they account for less than 1% of the market. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Real Brewed Tea Drinks Market Steady Growth

Sales of ready-to-drink tea experienced mid-single digit growth thanks to its reputation as a better-for-you drink. Real-brewed tea which uses tea leaves as opposed to extracts or concentrates is a trend in the RTD tea category. Loose-leaf tea sales are also on the rise as consumers become more sophisticated in their tea consumption. Canned and bottled teas had sales of $3.6 billion in the 52 weeks ended May 14, a 3.4% increase. Top brands in the segment were AriZona ($645.7 million in sales, -3.6% change in sales) and Lipton Pure Leaf ($615.2 million, +6.4%). The loose-leaf and bagged tea category had total sales of $1.2 billion, a 1.4% increase year-over-year. Lipton ($243 million, -4.4%) and Bigelow ($156 million, +0.2%) were the best-selling loose-leaf and bagged tea brands. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Global Alcohol Consumption Declines – Spirits Market Grows

Last year, consumption of alcohol declined 1.4% worldwide mainly due to sagging sales of beer and wine. Spirits grew 2.6% in the U.S. last year, more than twice the rate of wine. (Source: Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2017)

Distilled spirits recorded growth for the seventh consecutive year with supplier sales up 4.5%, volume up 2.4%, and retail sales hitting $78 billion in 2016. High-end and super-premium Irish whiskeys have driven most of the category growth in the past 15 years. Other segments with strong volume increases last year include cognac (+12.9%), tequila (+7.1%), whiskey (+6.8%), and vodka (+2.4%). Dark spirits have benefited from flavor innovation with fruit, spice, sweetened vanilla, and dessert flavors top choices of younger drinkers which are core drinkers of the sub-segment. The top distilled spirit brands based on chain retail sales for the 52 weeks ending May 14 were: In dollar sales % change Smirnoff Vodka $323,252,924 +0.4% Jack Daniels American Whiskey $307,471,860 +4.6% Crown Royal Canadian $269,535,344 +7.9% Captain Morgan Rum $232,071,429 +1.7% Fireball Canadian $192,168,417 +15.2% (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Overall Juice Category Declines Due to Sugar Concerns

While the overall juice category has been declining due to consumer concern about sugar, premium juice segments such as raw unpasteurized juices, cold-pressed juices, and juice smoothies have performed well. Super premium juices registered an 11% increase in wholesale dollar sales to $2.2 billion. The superpremium segment is forecast to grow to $3.2 billion by 2020. Natural and organic juices were up 7% and 23% respectively while GMO-free shelf-stable juices increased 30% year-over-year. Juice concentrates experienced sales increases of 4.5% while bottled juices were up 1.1%. Aseptic juices declined 0.7%, canned juices were down 1.6%, and refrigerated juices fell 1.5%. New nutrition labels which separate naturally occurring sugar from added sugar is expected to benefit the category. Today, only 12% of sales are attributed to a product claiming “No Added Sugars.” (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Trend to Plant Based Waters and Milks

The trend toward healthy hydration has spawned a spate of plant-based waters which offer functional and nutritional benefits. Plant-based waters grew 20% by volume and 17% by dollar sales in 2016 topping $493 million in sales. The U.S. has become a major market for coconut water, the top performer in the category. A wide-range of plant-based drinks are entering the market including maple, birch, watermelon, and cactus. Some brands are experimenting with flavors though original/unflavored options tend to be bestsellers. The category is expected to grow to nearly $900 million by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 13%. Approximately $100 million of the market will be plant-based waters other than coconut. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Since 2011, U.S. milk sales have fallen 11% by volume. The decline is partially due to a pivot away from cold breakfast cereals and partially attributed to the rise in plant-based milk alternatives. In response, dairies are testing new products including milk combined with puréed fruit, ultra-filtered milk, and milkshakes with antioxidants and prebiotic fiber. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2017)

Full Report Here:

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

Milk, Botanicals, Tickle Water, Kombucha and Suja Juice

ticklewater_webResearch into how efficiently different beverages hydrate the human body discovered that milk (both fat-free and whole), orange juice, and oral rehydration solution (e.g. Pedialyte) had a significantly higher hydration index than water. Drinks with moderate amounts of caffeine or alcohol as well as beverages with high levels of sugar had hydration indexes no different than water. The study was conducted by the European Hydration Institute. (Source: The New York Times, June 30, 2016)

Beverage makers are increasingly incorporating botanicals into their ingredient lists. Mixologists and craft cocktail makers are usually the first to try out new herbs and bitters. Others are responding to consumers’ desire for more plant-based alternatives as part of a clean food lifestyle. Botanicals are appealing not only for their flavor but also for functional properties such as sweetener or emulsifier as well as nutritional and health benefits including protein, fiber, antioxidants, and stress relief. One downside to botanical ingredients is they often vary in attributes according to region, weather, and other factors. (Source: Beverage Industry, September 12, 2016)

Tickle Water is positioned as “children’s sparkling water.” The line of naturally flavored, preservative-free, GMO-free, gluten-free, no-salt, no-sugar, and no-calorie sparkling water comes in Green Apple, Watermelon, and Cola flavors as well as an unflavored Natural. The line is available in select markets for $1.49-$1.59 per 8-ounce plastic can. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 28, 2016)

Kombucha, a fermented, functional tea, is catching on with consumers. Kombucha has a variety of health benefits including detoxification, joint health, digestive health, and immune-boosting properties. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of all adults and half (51%) of adults age 25 to 34 report drinking kombucha. Consumers who have tried kombucha plan to repeat their purchase by a two-to-one margin. Kombucha marketers are testing different variations of black tea and fruit flavors to differentiate their product from others. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2016)

Suja Juice is launching a line of functional drinking vinegars in September. The drinks are made with organic apple cider vinegar and cold-pressed fruits and vegetables. Each bottle contains over 4 billion units of live vegan probiotics, which support digestive and immune health, as well as 3-6 grams of naturally occurring sugars which results in 20-30 calories. The Suja Drinking Vinegars are fermented and unfiltered and have the “mother” still intact. Flavors include Hibiscus Ancho Chile, Strawberry Balsamic, Peach Ginger, Cucumber Ginger, and Lemon Cayenne. (Source: Beverage World, July 26, 2016)

Millennials now make up a greater proportion of wine drinkers (36%) than baby boomers (34%). The younger generation say that the wine they drink says a lot about them. They are also embracing wine sold in cans. The ManCan targets millennial soccer dads who want to drink wine at the pool, a baseball game, or outdoor at the grill. ManCan is available in red and white blends that makes for an easy decision for those without a lot of wine knowledge. The brand wants to eliminate all the barriers to drinking wine. Another wine in a can, Underwood, pokes fun at wine snobs in a series of videos. They, too, want to appeal to people who haven’t tried wine – in this case because of the pomp and circumstance associated with it. Rebel Coast Winery sells wine in bottles but has found ways to stand out on the shelf with names like Sunday Funday and a mustache on its label. Millennials also like rosé which has increased in volume by 48% to 52% year-overyear. (Source: Adweek, August 23, 2016)

Full Beverages InView October 2016 Report here.

Hybridising Health & Hedonism – US Beverage Trends

Carlsberg’s London Pop Up Chocolate Bar

Highlights from BeverageIn View June 2016:

Consumer research finds that taste/flavour is the primary deciding factor for consumers’ preferred beverage, cited by 72%. Other choice influencers are health and nutrition (21%) and functional attributes (16%). Hybrid beverages that combine great taste with better-for-you benefits are increasingly available and popular. The top three categories of non-alcoholic beverages have seen little growth or even declines. Carbonated soft drinks and juices both recorded 0.1% growth while dairy milk fell 7%. In contrast, energy drinks grew by 8.9%, and coffee sales increased 8.7%. (Source: US Official News, March 25, 2016)

Tea is being mixed with alcoholic beverages such as Bourbon, Vodka, Wine and Cocktails.

The top 10 beverage companies with distribution in the U.S. ranked on 2015 sales are:
The Coca-Cola Co. $44, 294 million; Anheuser-Busch InBev $43,064 million; PepsiCo Inc. $29,636 million; Nestlé SA $24,477 million; Heineken NV $23,391 million; Diageo $22,741 million; Suntory Holdings $22,410 million; SABMiller PLC $22,130 million; Starbucks Corp. $19,200 million; Unilever Group $19,200 million;

After increasing 89% in 2013 and 71% in 2014, hard cider sales rose only 10% in 2015 leading some to theorize the cider craze has peaked.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority created a custom beer brand #WHHSH, a social media hashtag for the city’s famous tagline. The black-labeled beer won’t be sold to the public but will be given away for free at events designed to promote Las Vegas to potential tourists. The beer is brewed by Tenaya Creek Brewery of Las Vegas, a local craft brewer. (Source: Advertising Age, April 11, 2016)

The global beer market is expected to hit $688.4 billion by 2020. The international beer market has been shaken up by beer’s increasing popularity in China. Four of the 10 top-selling beers worldwide are Chinese. The top 10 beer brands internationally and their market shares are: Snow (5.4%), Tsingtao (2.8%), Bud Light (2.5%), Budweiser (2.3%), Skol (2.1%), Yanjing (1.9%), Heineken (1.5%), Harbin (1.5%), Brahma (1.5%), and Coors Light (1.3%). (Source: Business Insider, May 9, 2016)

A survey of craft beer drinkers found they are more interested in healthy habits such as exercising, watching their weight, and drinking alcohol only occasionally than other monthly drinkers. Sixty percent of Millennial craft beer drinkers say they only drink alcohol on weekends and 44% observe periods of not drinking at all to maintain their health. Given the healthy focus of many craft beer drinkers, brewers are encouraged to be transparent when it comes to nutrition labeling which 78% of craft beer drinkers say are important to read when buying food and beverages. (Source: Brewbound, June 10, 2016)

A new study delves into the habits of craft beer drinkers at point of purchase. Almost 60% have used their smartphone to help decide what beer to choose off the shelf while 74% have used their mobile device to read up on beer before going to the store. Among craft beer drinkers, 72% say they are more likely to try a new beer if they can read information about it. Those who are searching for information about a brand while standing in front of the shelf are looking for reviews about one-third of the time. Craft beer drinks who use their mobile phone in-store would like to be offered rebates or coupons (75%), information about pricing (65%), brand specific information (52%), and retail locations that carry specific brands (51%) or have it in-stock (49%). (Source: Adweek, June 19, 2016)

A federal judge refused to block a San Francisco ordinance that requires warning labels on outdoor advertisements for soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. The new rule will take effect on July 25. The warning must appear on posters and billboards and say “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.” (Source: Law360, May 17, 2016)

The City of Philadelphia approved a tax that would raise the price of a soft drink – both sugar-added and artificially sweetened – by 18 cents per can. The tax will be used to help pay for pre-kindergarten and other popular services. At 1.5 cents per ounce, the proposed tax levy is 50% higher than the assessment in Berkeley, California, the first city to impose such a measure. A recent poll found that 59% of Philadelphians backed the sugary drink tax which has been endorsed by the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2016; CNN Money, June 16, 2016)


In the past 15 years, per capita consumption of bottled water has increased 120% from 16.7 gallons in 2000 to 36.7 gallons in 2015. During the same time, the combined volume of all other liquid refreshment beverages decreased from 95.7 gallons per person to 80.1 gallons, a 16.3% decline. An analysis estimates that by choosing bottled water over other drinks, an average individual consumed 24,000 to 27,000 fewer calories in 2015 than a typical person did in 2000. (Source: Beverage Industry, June 7, 2016)

Coffee houses are reporting increasing demand for more iced espressos and lattes. During the last quarter of 2015, Starbucks reported a 20% increase in iced drinks nationwide following its introduction of a new cold brew coffee. Coffee makers – including Peet’s, Illy, High Brew, La Colombe, and Chameleon Cold-Brew – are pushing to get more high-end, low-calorie, less-sugary cold brews and lattes onto store shelves. The U.S. ready-to-drink coffee market has been growing by double-digits annually since 2011 and is expected to reach nearly $3.6 billion by 2020. (Source: Bloomberg, May 23, 2016)

Consumers have begun to realize how much sugar sports drinks contain – over 50 grams per 32-ounce bottle, much more than the average person needs. In response, sports drinks are offering lower- and no-calorie versions. Sports drinks are also being tailored to meet specific needs such as a high-sugar version for athletes needing energy, carb-heavy versions for athletes needing endurance, and low-calorie options for simple hydration needs. In addition, Gatorade and Powerade have eliminated brominated vegetable oil from their ingredient lists in response to an online campaign begun by a 15-year old. The next phase of sports drinks appears to be meeting individual nutritional needs. Gatorade is testing small pods of liquid formulated to individual needs as determined by Gatorade’s sweat patch. The pods snap into bottles of Gatorade to deliver the necessary nutrients. (Source: Business Insider, March 26, 2016)

Overall, revenue for the U.S. distilled spirits category grew 4.1% in 2015 while volume was up 2%. The gap between dollars and cases is expected to widen as more drinkers opt for premium and superpremium drinks. Among sub-segments, Irish whiskey had the strongest growth rate at 16.1% followed by single malt Scotch whiskey at 13%, blended whiskey at 8.8%, tequila at 7.4%, and brandy and cognac at 7.2%. Sub-segments with declining growth include cordials at -1.9%, gin at -1.8%, and rum at -1.5%. (Source: Beverage World, May 2016)

Juice sales have stagnated in recent years due to increasing competition from other healthy drink categories, heightened concerns about the calorie and sugar content in juice, and growing aversion to artificial ingredients. (Source: Beverage World, May 2016)

A new survey finds that Americans’ favorite place to drink wine is at home with 47% of Millennials and 61% of Gen X and Baby Boomers preferring it over social gatherings, restaurants, or wineries. This preference could be part of a wider movement towards “hometainment” or socializing at home to save money. The same survey found that bars are the least popular place to drink wine with only 3% choosing it as their favorite. (Source: Business Insider, May 3, 2016)

And from the “Only in America” file:

New Belgium Brewing is teaming up with Ben & Jerry’s to offer another ice cream-inspired ale. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale will roll out this fall. The two companies previously released Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. Proceeds up to $50,000 from the sales of the new offering will benefit Protect Our Winters which is a non-profit focused on climate change. (Source: Fox31 in Denver, June 20, 2016)

Carlsberg created a chocolate bar – a drinking establishment made entirely out of chocolate – outside of the Old Truman Brewery in London as part of the ongoing “If Carlsberg Did” campaign. Initially the bar was disguised as a billboard in the shape of a giant candy bar which was unwrapped to reveal the bar which was constructed from 1,000 pounds of chocolate. Measuring 5 meters wide by three meters high by two meters deep, the bar included bar stools and a television and served half-pints of Carlsberg beer in chocolate glasses. The bar was only in business for half-a-day and the promotion was tied to the Easter holiday. (Source: Adweek, March 24, 2016)


Self-Serve Beer Taps, Virtual Wine Tastings, Mead, Cold Brew Coffee and Natural Wine: Beverage Trends from the US

BeerSelected items from the MARC Research Beverages InView Report Jan 2016:

Millennials of drinking age are willing to learn about new styles and flavors of drinks while balancing the desire to explore new tastes with loyalty to a few favourite brands. They are likely to purchase beer, wine, and spirits at a variety of retail and on-premises venues. They drink more than one type of adult beverage with 30% doing so on their last on-premise occasion. Cost is the leading factor in deciding what drink to order. As they age they explore craft beer and wine varietals.

Around one-third of diners order an alcoholic beverage with their meal. Beer wine and spirits account for 85%,  8.9% and 6.2% respectively. On-premise drinking occurs at bars (40%), casual dining spots (38%), hotels (9%), and fine dining restaurants (5%).

Since 2013 the on-premise drinkers that say the drink menu influenced their decision to visit a particular restaurant, has increased. Drink menus are shrinking with adult beverage items declining 2.2% year-over-year. This parallels the trend towards smaller, more focused food menus.  Less than one-quarter of consumers overall say price is more important than quality in drinks.

Trends include venues that focus on a particular type of alcohol, e.g. bourbon bar; wine on tap; cocktails made with wine, beer, and hard ciders; classic cocktails  such as Martinis and Tom Collins’ are making a come back; more choices in serving sizes; boutique, better-for-you, and hand-crafted options for alcohol, mixers, and garnishes.

Ten beverage trends to expect in 2016:  
Fresh herbs and spices
Low-alcohol cocktails that don’t skimp on flavor
Ethnic mashups
Creative applications for different types of tea including ‘matcha’
Fermented drinks
Grilled citrus to add a sweet smoky flavor to drinks
Carbonation of coffee, tea, and other drinks
Greater demand for seasonal ingredients
Cold-brew coffee
Focus on drink presentation style

In Total Wine & More’s 21st century liquor store, customers can experience virtual wine tastings via live-streaming video on a massive HDTV. They can also enter meal ingredients and cooking method into an app on a tablet and receive a list of suggested wines at different price points to pair with the meal. They can scan the barcode of a product and instantly receive descriptions and ratings for it.



Pubs and fast casual restaurants are installing self-serve beer taps.  Drinkers provide ID and receive a wireless bracelet or card that permits operation of the taps. Customers can choose from dozens of beers on tap and sample several or pour a full glasses.

Craft beer sales grew 15.2% in 2014, this market being driven by younger consumers looking for brands which offer a certain level of distinction as well as beers that are produced locally. The category continues to see innovation such as hard sodas and ciders.

Letsee Beer is a new app which uses augmented reality to provide instant access to beer reviews. Users launch the app, take a photo of the beer they are interested in and the app immediately serves up user reviews and ratings.

Mead sales grew 84% between 2012 and 2014 and production increased 128% from 2013 to 2014. 42 new meaderies opened in 2014 with more planned across the nation. Mead makers experiment with dry, lighter, carbonated meads and as like craft beers, they can be found on-tap and offer an alternative for non-beer drinkers.

Sparkling water volume has grown 26% in the past year. The US top seller in LaCroix  has experienced 50% sales growth. LaCroix, Perrier and San Pellegrino have 30% , 15% and 12% market share respectively. Coke and Pepsi are preparing to launch flavored sparkling water entries.

„’Woodsy’ waters offer an alternative to coconut water. Cactus or nopal water contains prickly pear cactus juice and is the only known fruit to contain all 24 betalain skin-beneficial antioxidants and is also said to be good for muscle recovery. Birch water,  native to the Nordic and Baltic regions for centuries, helps to eliminate uric acid and contains a naturally occurring sugar, Xylitol. Maple water has a light, refreshing maple taste and is low-calorie and nutrient laden.

Cold brew coffee retail sales grew 115% between 2014 and 2015 and 300% since 2010. 24% of U.S. consumers have purchased cold-brew coffee at retail with older Millennials (55%) and men (30%) are more likely to buy it. However, 58% of those who don’t drink cold brew coffee aren’t even interested in trying it. Among those who have tried it, 48% did not like its taste while 9% said it cost too much.

A new coffee shop concept in Philadelphia asks customers to serve themselves from a wall of single-serve coffee pods. Customers choose from 136 varieties of hot beverages, purchase their single-serve cup for $1.75 for regular and $3.00 for gourmet blends, and then make their own coffee in a single-serve machine. The shop’s staff cleans and recycles the cups.

Natural wines have no more than one percent share of the wine market but debate is rife. The character of natural wine more closely reflects the places where the grapes were grown. Makers offer more transparency about where and how they were made; however, since they haven’t the additives of mainstream wine (which makes for consistent taste and prevents the wine from turning into vinegar), each bottle of wine a wild card until it is opened. Many natural wine makers are still learning the craft and relying on market feedback for guidance.

Full Report Here: BeverageInView Dec 2015

Coming Our Way? Sugary Drink Taxes, Tea Cocktails, Bulletproof Coffee and Coffee Wine

Bulletproof Coffee Recipe from Optimoz

If you take the view that Australia follows the US in food and drink trends, then the latest US beverage trends from M/A/R/C Research’s InView will interest foodies and those in food and beverage.

Here’s a round up on the US trends in sugared drinks, fads, tea, millennials, craft brews, bottled water and wine.

Sugary Drink Taxes

Sugar-sweetened drinks with at least 209kJ’s per 236 ml’s are said to contribute to 180,000 deaths worldwide through diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vermont and Illinois have levied a taxes on sugary drinks and other states are considering following suite.

Bulletproof Coffee

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that coffee bars (chocolate-like wafers that offer the equivalent of a shot of expresso), activated charcoal lemonade (supposed to detoxify and reduce bloat) and Bulletproof or Sherpa coffee (fresh brewed coffee blended with grass-fed butter and a shot of coconut oil) are the latest fads to hit the beverage scene.

Starbucks Applies for Liquor Licences

About 100 locations will offer beer, wine, and small plates as Starbuck applies for liquor licenses in an effort to improve sales via a new evening menu.

Brewed Tea the Cool New Mixer

The Detroit News reports tea-flavored vodkas including Seagram’s sweet tea-flavored vodka and Absolut’s Wild Tea also containing elderflower is becoming popular.

Experimental Millennials

Heineken estimates Millennials will account for 70% of future beer growth due to their experimental  natures and the fact that they equate cost with quality. As the economy and their economic standing improve, they trade up so Heineken use digital aspirational and experiential campaigns to capture this group.

Cannabis-Infused Beer

Targeted News Service reports that craft beer market is growing and growing. At the end of June there was an 18% increase in the number of US breweries operating with 1,755 further breweries in planning. Specialist brewers have introduced alcoholic ginger and root beers and a (legal derivative of cannabis called cannabidoil or CBD) cannabis-infused beers.

If Bottled Water is King, Then Water Enhancer’s are Queen

Between 2000 and 2014, annual US per capita consumption of bottled water doubled and per capita consumption of soft drinks fell 25%. Driven mostly by the health and wellness movement, US analysts believe that by 2017 bottled water will surpass soft drinks and become the dominant non-alcoholic beverage. Brands are launching products with exotic flavors in waters and water enhancers.

Coffee Wines

PR Newswire reports: The fastest growing wines are a range varietals, styles, and regions with interest in wines with interesting stories, philanthropic connections, unique production methods, and convenient packaging. Wine retailers note that consumers are more likely to purchase a new brand at a higher price point than remain with a familiar brand that raised its price. Boxed wines recorded double-digit growth with 187-ml wine bottles also selling well.

The World’s First Coffee Wines have been launched: Cabernet Espresso and Chardonnay Cappuccino under the Friends Fun Wine brand. Fun Wine is positioned as a drink for 21 – 35 year old new an occasional wines drinkers that want an affordable alternative to beer and wine with a lower alcohol content.