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Trends In The Alcoholic Beverage Industry

The alcoholic beverage industry is not particularly known for being stagnant. Significant changes and surprising trends emerge every year and 2019 is no exception.

In order to get a better understanding of where things currently stand with regards to the alcoholic beverage industry for this year, we’ve highlighted some of the stats and trends that you need to take note of.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer at some of the more interesting developments, starting with the more general trends that are impacting sales.

1. The alcoholic beverage industry is not slowing down just yet

With more and more people becoming health-conscious, alcoholic drinks are increasingly being dropped. You probably have at least a few friends or family members who have pulled back on their alcohol consumption lately or perhaps have even tried to stop it altogether.

It’s obviously up to the individuals to decide what they want to do with regards to their alcohol consumption moving forward, but it is worth noting that the industry is not being impacted just yet by folks who are opting for drinking less.

Via FoodBev Media, the alcoholic beverage market is expected to continue growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of over 4 percent over the next 6 years. Things can obviously change and the expected growth rate could shrink, but for now, the outlook for the industry continues to be positive.

2. Selling alcohol online is becoming more popular

The idea that alcoholic drinks can be purchased online and even be delivered to your doorstep may seem like a foreign concept to many, but industry insiders already know that those things are becoming common.

More recent numbers pertaining to the popularity of online sales of alcoholic beverages have yet to be made available. Still, it wasn’t too long ago when online alcohol sales reached $1.7 billion. To be more specific, the online sales numbers got there back in 2017, per Grocery Dive.

It’s not hard to imagine the numbers growing even larger since then.

Companies such as Drizly and Thirstie are already starting to reap huge rewards from selling alcohol online. The market being flooded with even more options in the near future would hardly be a surprise.

3. Whisky is becoming an increasingly popular alcoholic beverage

Whisky is already the drink of choice for many fans of alcoholic beverages all over the country. Prized for its distinct flavor that manages to bring together some remarkably sweet notes, earthy tastes, and even hints of spice, whisky is a staple of many household liquor cabinets.

And it figures to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

According to Statista, revenues in the United States’ whisky sector are at $18.126 million for this year. As impressive as that already is, the numbers could grow even larger in the coming years.

By 2023, whisky-related revenues could spill over $20 million.

This is also where it becomes important to point out that whisky is popular not just in the United States. Sales of the spirit are also remarkably high in other corners of the globe, with India standing out as one of the more voracious consumers of the aforementioned liquor.

4. The best-selling cocktail of 2019 so far is the Old Fashioned

Considering the popularity of whisky, it should probably come as no surprise that the top-selling cocktail of the year at this point is one that prominently features the aforementioned spirit.

According to Drinks International, the cocktail known as the Old Fashioned is the best-seller and it’s being sold in 30 percent of bars. This is also nothing new.

The Old Fashioned has remained as the cocktail of choice for many lovers of alcohol for quite some time now. Drinks International even points out that this is the fifth year in a row in which the aforementioned cocktail has emerged as the top seller.

Putting together the conventional kind of the Old Fashioned cocktail involves mixing together sugars along with some bitters. Whisky is then often poured into the mixture, although there are some instances wherein brandy may be used as a substitute.

As a finishing flourish, bartenders may add some citrus rind to the cocktail to give it a hint of freshness and acidity.

5. Sake is no longer just a popular drink in Japan

Whisky is not the only alcoholic beverage that is making waves in terms of sales. In recent years, a popular alcoholic drink from Asia is also showing that it has fans all over the world.

The drink in question is none other than Japanese sake. According to Nippon.com, overseas sales of the rice wine went over ¥22.2 billion for 2018. That translates to just a little under $205 million.

The site also noted that 2018 was the first year in which international sales of Japanese sake surpassed the ¥20 billion mark.

So, who are the biggest fans of sake outside of Japan? As it turns out, the folks in the United States can’t get enough of it. Americans accounted for just about 30 percent of sake’s international sales last year.

Residents of Asian nations have long known about the merits of sake and it seems like people from other parts of the globe are wising up to them too.

6. High-end spirits remain highly coveted

Due in large part to the pervasive nature of the internet, you can learn just about anything regarding almost every possible field of interest. If you’re into alcoholic drinks in particular and you want to know the best options available, you can quickly look them up online.

Perhaps because of that easy access to information, more people are now aware of high-end spirits and they have also displayed a willingness to spend on those sought after products.

Per the Brindiamo Group, sales of the “super-premium” and “high-end premium” spirits rose by 6 and 7 percent respectively in 2018. It’s a good thing that more people know about those premium products, although their fans may want to stock up just in case the demand gets too high.

7. Craft beer is no longer just a niche offering

Getting that first taste of craft beer can be a transformative experience. After settling down with the mass-produced beers that flood the marketplace, suddenly being able to try out something different can awaken the alcohol connoisseur in you.

Craft beer has done that for many people, which is why it should not come as a surprise that the beverage has become immensely popular.

Per Austria Juice, sales of craft beer in 2018 rose by 5 percent. On top of that, around 8,000 craft breweries are expected to be operating inside the United States by the end of this year. Back in 2007, the number of craft breweries stood at just over 1,511.

The popularity of craft beer has reached the point where even the larger players in the alcoholic beverage industry are expected to get in on the action at some point. Whether or not they will succeed in their forays into producing craft beer is another matter altogether.

8. Ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages are not going away anytime soon

You can’t read up on the latest goings-on inside the alcoholic beverage industry without hearing something about the increasing popularity of ready-to-drink (RTD) options. Notably, these RTD alcoholic beverages have actually been around for a long time, but it seems as though they are peaking in popularity right at this moment.

To give you a better idea of just how popular alcoholic RTD beverages have become, Nielsen notes that the sales of malt-based cocktail variants have grown by 597 percent compared to last year. Not to be outdone, hard seltzer RTDs are at 193 percent while the canned wine options are 77.5 percent.

If you’ve noticed that these RTD alcoholic beverages have become more prevalent, there’s a good reason for that. As it turns out, plenty of people really like them.

9. Wine is going beyond the bottle

When you think of wine, you probably conjure up this image of red or white wine flowing forth from an elegant-looking bottle as the luscious drink is poured into a glass. That’s a classic image, but there’s a decent chance that you may be drinking wine from a can sometime soon.

Going back to Nielsen, the data firm points out that there are now 22 wine brands that offer their products in cans. As many as 386 different wine options can now be sipped from a can.

Wine lovers have also not shied away from the canned variants as sales figures have skyrocketed to $81 million after finishing at $46 million for last year.

Moving forward, drinking wine from a can could turn out to be a more common practice.