Innovation driven by artificial intelligence and climate change, increased demand for premium and ultra-premium products... discover the key trends in the wine & spirits market according to research by Verallia and Carlin Creative.
French glassmaker Verallia and trends agency Carlin Creative revealed four key growth drivers in the wines & spirits market a presentation prior to the 2023 Verallia Design Awards on June 30th. We take a closer look.
Back to the Roots: local production and a positive impact
With Back to the Roots, Verallia and Carlin Creative highlight that demand for local products and a respect for nature is here to stay. They referenced IWSR data showing that while sales of still wines are declining, organic wine sales are on the up. Consumers want wine and spirits brands to have a positive impact, whether that be through regenerative agriculture, upcycled ingredients or carbon initiatives. Local production is seen as a gauge of quality, and certain brands are revamping their recipes to including a maximum of local ingredients. According to Carlin Creative, the dialog is no longer around authenticity, but about ancestral tales that are transmitted and adapted for today’s consumer.
Back to the Roots highlights the demand for local products and a respect for nature ©Verallia
Brands fitting into this trend include Tread Softly, an Australian wine brand that launched its first gin at the end of 2021. For every six bottles of gin sold, it plants one tree native to Australia. In Singapore, Sachi’s Soy Wine is brewed from by-products from the production of tofu. Australia’s Round Theory, meanwhile, has a carbon offsetting program for its vegan certified wines that come in lightweighted bottles adorned with labels printed on recycled stock. Another example is the French Chateau Picorin who has revamped its labels and communication in its quest to celebrate the winery’s legacy while looking to Bordeaux’s future.
Instant Pleasures: ready-to-drink and creative aesthetics take center stage
The Instant Pleasures trend is all about consumers who are looking for lightness and pleasure: think ready-to-drink, no-low, and highly creative aesthetics driven by generative AI. Out-of-home, bars are developing a takeaway ready-to-drink offer, and small, on-the-go formats are also growing. In the UK, Jukes offers organic apple cider-based drinks that are alcohol-free and come packaged in cans. In Australian, Noosa Gin, meanwhile, fits in with the trend for more colorful aesthetics with its yellow labels adorned with quirky illustrations. Entertainment is also key for the Instant Pleasures trend, with brands and retailers coming up with offers that combine experience and taste, such as in the realms of video games or art. Bacardi is one example with its initiative to promote female artists.
Ready-to-drink, no-low, and highly creative aesthetics driven by generative AI fit into the Instant Pleasures trend ©Verallia
Best of the Best: premium and ultra-premium seeing increased demand
Verallia Selective Line Marketing Director Elena Andia said in a statement that in the context of inflation, growth in wines & spirits has slowed, but "quite surprisingly there is an increased demand for premium and ultra-premium products." This encapsulates the Best of the Best trend, where consumers are looking for an exclusive offer and quality ingredients. With Generation Z’s quest for moderation to look after their health, no-low and functional drinks (with nootropics or adaptogens) are set to become more widespread. Transparency around ingredients and production processes is increasingly expected by consumers, and wine and spirits brands are taking inspiration from the cosmetics sector to explain the role of their ingredients. Consumers are still looking for exclusivity, and ultra-premium brands are opting for NFTs, small batch production and taking their cues from luxury perfumery.
The Best of the Best trend is about exclusive offers and quality ingredients ©Verallia
Brands tapping into these trends include DrZeroZero, with its AmarNo drink that is an alcohol-free alternative to Italian drink Amari, and UK-based Everleaf that produces non-alcoholic apertifs. Seventy One gin, meanwhile, comes in a bottle inspired by luxury perfumery codes, while Beefeater Crown Jewel is an ultra-premium gin in ruby-red packaging.
Disruptives: the impact of climate change and AI
Climate change and the development of artificial intelligence is pushing the market to diversify and explore new options. With the Disruptives trend, Verallia and Carlin Creative highlight how AI is not only being used on an aesthetic level, but also in terms of production. It can, for example, be used to generate new recipes and rank them according to how likely they are to be a hit with consumers. This is what Mackmyra did with its Intelligens Swedish single malt whisky, said to be the first whisky created by AI.
The development of AI is pushing the market to diversify and explore new options ©Verallia
And new territories are being explored for production, from the Nordic Countries to space. Maison Mumm’s Cordon Rouge Stellar Champagne was developed for drinking in the latter. Laboratories too are being called upon, like in the case of Air Company who transforms CO2 into a carbon-negative vodka. And Endless West is a beverage technology start-up that leverages molecular science to create spirits; its first product Glyph is a molecular spirit inspired by whisky and produced without any barrel aging.
Also part of the Disruptives trend is the move towards reducing the weight and volume of packaging, as well as the implementation of reuse systems. An example of a brand active in this area is Remy’s Cointreau’s Champagne Telmont, which is currently working with Verallia on a 800g Champagne bottle.
Transcribing wine & spirits trends onto packaging
To show brands how they can transcribe these trends onto their wine & spirits packaging, Verallia and Carlin Creative highlighted new stock bottles and decoration ideas. For Back to the Roots trend this took the form of slender sparkling wine bottle Elba (far left on the picture below), and screenprinting on Selective Line’s Treviso bottle done by Saga Décor (second left) to look like a handwritten inscription. Instant Pleasures included a "fresh and colorful" screenprinted décor for the Paris bottle (center), as well as the Valparaiso bottle for still wines with its elegant shape and long neck (second right). And the new Ascot bottle from Verallia UK and Carlin Creative (far right) associated with the Best of the Best trend combines a rounded shape with a flat facing in a nod to the codes of elixirs.