Future drinks trends for 2023
Remember when everyone was doing cocktail-making masterclasses and virtual tastings from home? That may no longer be the case as life has somewhat returned to normal now, but drinks trends and the way people are consuming alcohol is shifting.
As we head towards a new year, Imbibe Live has asked the experts what they think will be big in 2023. Keep on reading to find the inside scoop and stay ahead of the competition.
One thing that has remained is consumers’ revitalised interest in their choice of drink. Now more than ever people want to know the background of the product they’re purchasing, for example how sustainable their beverage of choice is, how it’s made, how it will affect their health and their wellbeing etc.
Another factor that will shape the trends going into 2023 is the cost of living crisis we’re all facing. Enticing people out of their homes and into bars will become the number one priority for venues. According to CGA data, 57% of consumers say that food and drink contribute to a good quality experience while 40% plan to go out less frequently due to the cost of living crisis, with 20% planning to order fewer drinks.
So, with these things in mind, here’s how we see things going for 2023…
Tipped as one of the big drinks trends to look out for, hard seltzers have taken the industry by storm as a low-calorie convenience drink. Perfect for taking out and about, hard seltzers are essentially an alcoholic, flavoured sparkling water. These have relatively low ABV and have an array of different alcohol bases including vodka and gin.
The increased demand for ready to drink (RTD) products is very likely a contributing factor towards the growth of hard seltzers. Brands are increasingly looking to scale up their RTD offerings and hard seltzers are likely to stay front and centre.
Hard seltzers to add to your menu:
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Premium Alcoholic Drinks
It seems that consumers are also gravitating towards the premium side of the drinks world, potentially in a bid to cut out cheap and unnecessary additives while also creating a feeling of luxury. Those looking to elevate their drinking experience are opting for premium spirits, beers, ciders and wines, enjoying the best that these categories have to offer.
Bacardi, with its 2021 Global Brand Ambassador Survey, revealed that 50% of bartenders globally report that their customers are opting for premium drinks while vodka brand Diago has seen sales jump by 21% in the year to 30 June, benefitting from growth in their range of high-end spirits.
So why are consumers veering towards the higher end of the market? Appreciation for production and origin is once again playing a part in this particular drinks trend. Consumers are increasing their willingness and likelihood to spend more on higher-quality products, whether when at home or out and about. However, with the rising cost of living and oncoming economic recession, drinks brands should watch consumer behaviour very closely to see if this trend continues its upward trajectory.
Premium drinks to add to your menu:
No & Low ABV Drinks
The trend for mindful consumption will continue to grow in 2023, with consumers looking for better alternatives to alcohol in the form of no and low drinks. As we know, gone are the days of the disappointed sighs when someone announces they won’t be drinking - mindful consumption is becoming more common and more accepted. Whether drinkers opt for the sessionable option, the lighter option, or the entirely non-alcoholic option, the number of products catering to mindful drinkers is growing.
Health is one of the main factors driving the moderation trend, with drinkers placing more importance on mental health, clarity and function after a night out. The quality of no and low drinks alternatives has also vastly improved in recent years with an array of products and flavours now on offer to consumers.
Laura Willoughby, Co-founder of Club Soda says, “customers are looking for venues where their whole party can feel welcome, from a decent vegan offering to great drink options for friends not drinking today… no and low drinks continue to excite an delight customers. It’s a drinks category with lots of innovation.”
No and Low drinks to add to your menu:
In the UK, CBD – a non-psychoactive component of cannabis – is not a controlled substance, allowing drinks producers to incorporate it into their products and, with it, the cannabis drinks trend has sprung up. CBD drinks have been floating around on the market for a few years now, but interest has been piqued due to their proclaimed health benefits for mood, cognition and physical health benefits, such as its anti-inflammatory properties.
RTD CBD drinks can be found across the UK and new CBD spirits are being launched on the regular. Bartenders are also experimenting with using CBD in their cocktails and CBD spirit producers have their own recommendations for ways to incorporate their drinks into cocktails, such as Muhu’s The Explorer. This combines the CBD gin with muddled blackberries, topped with ginger beer and garnished with a slice of lime and more berries.
CBD drinks to add to your menu:
The aperitivo culture is on the rise as more and more consumers opt for a Spritz Cocktail. What started out as the Aperol Spritz trend has now evolved into spritzes of all natures, from wine spritzers to gin spritzers, the beauty of this drink is in its adaptability. 2017-2018 is when we really saw the Aperol Spritz take off (remember when they were all over Instagram?) as a light, bubbly summer drink. Thanks to some very clever marketing, it’s become synonymous with relaxing outdoors and the European culture of sipping a refreshing, chilled beverage while sat on a sun-drenched terrace. So why has the Spritz resonated so completely with consumers?
That mind-set shift towards the healthier, ‘light’ and low-calorie side of life is again playing a part in this drinks trend. Young adults and Gen Z are looking for drinks that can be considered more ‘natural’- that is to say, less artificial, and the Spritz fits into this nicely. People are also drawn towards the cultural aspect of the Spritz (given its Italian roots) and how this adds to the experience of the drink. In fact, CGA report that 78% of consumers would choose a Spritz Serve at least occasionally, therefore it’s vital for venues to include at least one Spritz on the menu.
Spritz ingredients to add to your menu:
- The Artisan Drinks Company Bubbly Soda Water
- Lanchester Wines Baglietti No. 10 Prosecco
- Dryvers Drinks Venetian Spritz
- Pinkster Gin Elderflower and Raspberry Spritz
Not only has there been a surge in demand for high end spirits, consumers are also looking for innovative and unique flavours within this category. Whether it’s flavours based on tea, berries, citrus, coffee, rhubarb and more, it’s clear that the sensory experience of food and drink has become a priority, much like with the Aperol Spritz and the feeling of summer that the drink evokes.
Flavoured Vodka sales have increased by 33% since 2019, while flavoured rum sales have doubled compared to 2019. In 2021, the WSTA said that flavoured gin represents approximately 40% of the total gin market by both volume and value. It’s expected that this upward trajectory will continue into 2023 as new flavours and ideas come to the fore.
Flavoured Spirits to add to your menu:
Trends are always evolving
There’s a lot to look forward to in 2023 as we enter another year of new flavours and concoctions within the drinks market. As consumers reach for the latest and greatest in products and alcohol trends, and with the backdrop of the current economic climate, we’ll be watching to see how the industry will adapt to entice people towards their offerings.
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