The media may be printing doom and gloom, but there has been a glowing trend that has come out of the lockdown. Whilst a lot of consumers are drinking slightly less or abstaining (between ¼ to 1/3 of survey responders on YouGov and alcoholchange.org.uk), 15% have been drinking more frequently with 21% more per session than before lockdown. The quality demand has also risen, according to the YouGov poll. Yes, booze shoppers are getting more savvy. 6 packs of beer are starting to make way for ‘posher totties’: what The Telegraph describes as ‘Quarantinis’ with cocktail ingredients up 48% and sales of liquers up 78%.
It’s like everyone had the same idea… to recreate that Gordon Ramsey experience at home with a little of something special to tantalise the palate and complete the invité-d’honneur feel to the bon appetit. Vinoramica echoes the sentiment from Highams Park, East London. Their independent shop has witnessed a boom, initially across the board and lately in the sales of the higher end cases. They pinpoint live tastings over Instagram which they offer as a promotional fun event and Zoom interactions of family and friends as helping to build up their core of regular clientele at the more refined end of the alcohol market. Plus, if the big wedding, anniversary or birthday party is now a no-goer, the savings pot has more than enough to spare for upgrading to first class at home.
Coronavirus and lockdown has had the biggest part to play but Waitrose claims that its rosé has been selling faster than hotcakes, and labels the weather as the no.1 factor, ‘people choosing a glass of something pink to relax with in the sunshine’. After all, it has been a hot summer with record breaking temperatures, running back to back with an Indian summer where we are usually feeling the first chills of autumn. With many younger people who are pivoting the surge upwards in non-alcohol drinks also being confined to home, sales of the more exceptional varieties of these are also noticing a boost. And in America, Drizly, an online ordering platform, reported phenomenal increases: ‘liqueurs, cordials, schnapps, and mixers are up by 600% to 1,000%. Vermouth is up 1,200%’
Meanwhile, Nielsen, one of the largest global shopping research companies, has been reporting in May after a review of the initial lockdown. Wine and spirits are pacing above the 22% volume growth threshold, but beer (including flavoured malt based drinks [FMB] and ciders) has fallen short of that benchmark to date. Nielsen CGA discovered that spanning all alcoholic beverages, consumers were the least price conscious when ordering cocktails with takeaway food orders. Additionally, 28% say they would choose a more premium cocktail and 58% would opt for their familiar cocktail favourites. It’s some important clues to the way the game is going, and for alcohol creators boutique or big, bold and brash in the marketplace, key to a successful future.
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