Quality and innovation have become the key trends in the food and beverage sector over the last 15 years, particularly when it comes to alcohol. Consumers are interested in trying something new, and with the soaring sales of craft cider and the ‘ginaissance’, companies are responding to these demands with enthusiasm. Research has shown there has been a big increase in microbreweries, new and expanding wineries and a rise in the number of gin distilleries around the UK – there is certainly something about craft drinks that have made them so popular!
Drinkers are becoming more adventurous in their tastes and are interested in trying something niche and different when it comes to craft drinks. The increased demands for this innovation can be seen in the creation and sale of new products; at Lyme Bay, we have award-winning fruit wines and flavoured gins as well as our Ammonite Series of Jack Ratt cider with hops and botanicals. It is worth putting in the effort to create superior products and be constantly experimenting with flavours as consumers are happy to try something new every time and are also willing to pay more for high-quality tasty drinks.
It is not all about unique or fruity flavours too, as there has also been an increase in apple cider drinking. Producers are focusing on making it with traditional methods and higher juice content, with the final product coming in a variety of ways, such as sweet, dry, scrumpy and cloudy. The simple apple offers a lot of versatility to suit all cider drinkers, and businesses such as ourselves are seeing consumers respond to the traditional flavours of cider as much as the experimental.
Authenticity is what draws a lot of consumers to craft drinks, even if not every consumer knows what the ‘craft’ label means. However, a product being named as ‘craft’ has proven to be an important factor when people come to buy alcoholic beverages. There isn’t an exact definition for what a craft brewery or drink is in the UK, yet we are seeing consumers seek out beers, ciders, wine and spirits offering unique flavours and quality ingredients from local or independent businesses.
A brand that shows authenticity in their products such as using locally sourced ingredients, a passion for perfecting the taste and knowledge of the heritage of the process and drink itself is more likely to endear themselves to consumers. Consumers are more conscious of what they buy now, so are invested in finding out about a product’s sustainability, and they often consider craft drinks to be sustainable. Small and independent companies advertise their sustainability as the transparency about where ingredients come from or the production process resonates well with consumers.
The Evolving Trends
The drinks market is ever-evolving, but it looks like craft drinks are here to stay, as more and more drinkers are drawn in by the delicious flavours and support of independent businesses. The market is seeing new trends emerge every year, and it’s a great challenge to constantly be finding new ways to make products stand out. This can be creating delicious wines and ciders with innovative flavours, eye-catching labels and packaging worthy of an Instagram post or encouraging customers to sample something different they usually wouldn’t with sample gift boxes or mixed cans.
The popular trends in the craft drink market that consumers are excited about include the curiosity in unusual flavours of beer, cider and gin. Gin has become a favourite, with independent distilleries comfortably competing with recognisable brands and creative flavours being produced, such as our Devon gins with elderflower and cucumber or orange and thyme.
Gin is not the only spirit seeing a renaissance either, with rum sales increasing in terms of value and volume of sales in the last five years in the UK. Many are predicting rum to be the next big thing in spirits, with its popularity being driven by craft cocktails. The love for homemade cocktails has led to distilleries producing local rum – like our very own Lugger rum.
And when it comes to wine, English wine is leading the trend and winning awards against the world’s top vineyards and wineries. In recent years, the quality of English wine has improved and the number of vineyards in the country nearly doubled. There has been increased production and consumers are embracing the English style which is fresh and full of flavour.