Beverage Fads with Staying Power

Beer and spirit trends

Noticing changes in the beverage orders at your bar?

That’s because smaller brands and categories are outpacing and in some cases taking share from the more well-established brands in the alcohol industry, according to Technomic’s analysis of 2014 year-end results.

"Many of the categories and brands that dominate the industry are being challenged," observes Technomic senior director Donna Hood Crecca. "The trend creates increased competition for shelf space in bars and at retail and for consumer dollars in 2015. The monster categories such as light beer and vodka are feeling the heat from the likes of craft beer and bourbon, and the legacy brands are increasingly pitted against upstarts in the battle for operator attention and consumer occasions."

"Beer shed volume again in 2014 and the dynamics within beer continue to evolve, while the growth in spirits and wine is ongoing," says Technomic director of research Eric Schmidt. "Changing flavor preferences and greater interest in production methods and new formulations are driving factors. We're tracking a sharp decline in sweet flavor profiles and a rise in liquids with real 'heat' or herbal nuance in the spirits industry, and momentum among beer, spirits and even wine products with unique production processes."

Specifically, that means the largest categories in beer - domestic light and regular - both continue to lose share while craft beer and hard cider each posted double-digit increases. Vodka is still strong, though flavored versions are fading, but the growth is coming from whiskey - Irish and American. Growth rates are the trend for many smaller brands: in whiskey and vodka, for example, the real growth is coming not from the leading brands but from smaller and newer brands.

More insights, information and analysis will be shared at the Trends in Adult Beverage: Outlook 2015 & Beyond webinar on Thursday, March 26.

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