Metalworks, the R&D branch of the media agency Maxus, has released its predictions of five trends that will shape the future of alcohol.
1. Brew your own craft
‘Craft beer’ as a search term has increased fivefold since 2011, and even the White House has created a home-brew Honey Ale beer. As the craft movement grows bigger, and consumers demand to know the origins of their beverages, home brewing of craft beer will become more popular.
Premium-oriented partnerships between major brewers and craft brewers are also tipped to become more prevalent as the demand for artisanal-style alcoholic drinks grows, offering more variety to adventurous drinkers.
Examples: Brewbot is creating a smart appliance that allows anyone to brew their own beer and Budweiser is bringing their beer-brewing facility to customers through a custom-fitted mobile brewery unit.
2. A shot of innovation
Consumers are looking for new ways to experience alcohol consumption, and the quest for Instagram-worthy locations has sparked innovative ways to attract consumers to night spots. Some bars opt to be password-protected speakeasies, giving access to a select few. Other consumers prefer home entertainment options, creating the opportunity for companies to develop digital technologies that bring the bar ambience home.
Examples: The Makr Shakr robotic bar system has been implemented on the Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, delivering more than 500 drinks per night. Hello Vino is a mobile sommelier that gives users food pairing information with different wines through a scan of the label.
3. Sips of novelty
Climate change is expected to shift wine production away from traditional wine-producing regions, creating opportunities for new winemaking regions to flourish.
A shifting demand for new flavours and more exotic origins represents a need for alcohol brands to emphasise their uniqueness and strengthen their positioning with science, technology or service offerings.
Examples: Ardbed malt whisky, Haar carafe, is served as a whisky cloud designed to replicate the island’s mist of Islay where the distillery is located.
Australian craft brewer 4Hearts Brewing Company has created carrot beer, while a Tokyo restaurant serves ‘matcha’ (green tea) beer. Tobacco-flavoured cocktails are helping tipplers enjoy tobacco in venues with smoking bans.
4. Bottled art
Non-traditional marketing and creative packaging can launch viral marketing campaigns. Swedish cider brewer Kopparberg’s frozen cider pouch was inspired by the brand’s 2014 April Fool’s Day prank, a Kopparberg icy pole.
The packaging of a product is an opportunity for the brand to make a statement and leverage on active social media.
Examples: Powell & Mahoney’s cocktail mixes are packed in eco-friendly cartons, colour-coded to flavour without glass/plastic bottles. Heineken has introduced bottles which light up in time to beats of the music in nightclubs and upon clinking the bottle.
5. Drink without fear
Health and wellbeing apprehensions are seen as threats to the alcohol industry, but the acknowledgement of this threat has led to the emergence of functional tools which incorporate drug safety and drink driving preventive measures, as well as combating counterfeits.
Examples: DrinkSavvy has developed cups, glassware and straws that detect a common odourless, colourless and tasteless drug. Johnnie Walker has co-created cloud-connected whisky bottles that can tell the authenticity and age of the whisky.
The full Metalworks trend report is available at SlideShare.