Premium and Craft Spirits Are The New Trend
An emerging and fast-growing trend is towards craft spirits, especially whiskey, and a quest for “authenticity” among consumers. Especially younger consumers in the millennial and Gen X groups. These trends are being driven by social media “word of mouth” and by a new and growing multicultural group of consumers in America.
Consumers are moving towards craft products and asking for more than just taste and ease of purchase. They want to feel a part of the process, to learn about the product and its history and the traditions behind it. Coinciding with the “farm-to- table” movement, consumers are looking for authentic (or at least, authentic-appearing) craft distilleries and whiskeys with well-told origin stories and ingredients lists.
To capitalize on this trend, brands are increasingly getting “back to basics” with their marketing messages and artisanal roots. Small batch products are also gaining popularity, with one in seven new products introduced in 2016 being a “craft” or “small-batch” spirit.
Helping to drive this are social media marketing and socializing pushes that have brewers, distillers, consumers, and media influencers conducting campaigns online. From grassroots “ground up” campaigns wherein influencers build and run with name-dropping, hashtagging campaigns to big marketing pushes by major brands hoping to catch the eye of millennials and be seen as relevant, the ideas are never ending. Most successful campaigns seem to focus primarily on telling a story and creating a persona for the brand.
Rising through the ranks of buyers, by percentage, are a new batch of consumers who are both multicultural (by both heritage and upbringing) and experimental. These are mainly millennials and a few generation Xers who are relatively new to the world of spirits, having emerged from beer or wine drinking households. They tend to choose premium products and enjoy learning the background of the drink they’re consuming. Breweries and bars with a bent towards storytelling and authenticity are winning this new market over.
These three trends are happening simultaneously and often feed off of one another. That leads to more organic use of them as a singular tool towards gaining new footholds with consumers and sales.