22nd July | Alex Cook back

Why we’ll all be raising a glass to the biggest innovators in drinks

Across the country bars and pubs are welcoming us back after 15 weeks of lockdown, but are we as eager to return as we thought we would be? While many queued up for an 11am Jägerbomb on ‘Super Saturday’ a greater number stayed home, happily sipping our lockdown cocktail from a social distance.

While the future remains uncertain it’s clear that Coronavirus has changed the drinks landscape as we know it. As bars and brand owners rush to understand consumer behaviours in the post-pandemic world, we joined a panel of experts at Imbibe Live to talk about the key trends shaping the ‘new normal’:

E-Commerce and Home Delivery

Home delivery for both brands and bars will be big in the wake of Coronavirus. Consumers across the globe have quickly adjusted to using ecommerce for the goods and services they enjoy and are happy to pay for it. Wineries, merchants and retailers that operate online thrived through the pandemic and those not already set up for online trading will need to adapt if they hope to prosper.

Digitalising the Conversation

Perhaps most predominantly, the pandemic pushed drinking habits out of bars and into our homes through digital means. As the country went into lockdown, the drinks world went into overdrive with a plethora of virtual experiences popping up in everyone diaries. We attended everything from pub quizzes, to cocktail classes, virtual whiskey tastings and beer festivals using platforms such as Facebook Live and Zoom to connect with drinkers around the world in real time. The Beavertown sponsored Big Comedy Quiz at the Covid Arms even broke a Guinness world record for the world’s largest lock-in and raised £32,000 for the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal in the process.

The events website DesignMyNight witnessed a 13,000% increase in virtual events during lockdown. While ‘digital fatigue’ is expected to drive down the number of virtual events, many brands have discovered a unique way of connecting directly with their audience as well as a new revenue stream which has potential post-lockdown.

Customer Values 

Against the backdrop of such significant changes, serving up the right product and message has never been more important. Drinks brands were quick to show drinkers what they believed in to generate sales during lockdown with new product launches to raise money for NHS charities quickly hitting shelves, most notably BrewDog’s Barnard Castle Eye Test IPA.

Beyond this, consumers have a new appreciation for quality and craftmanship. We can expect the trend we have seen in recent years of people drinking ‘less but better’ to increase as people spend their beer money on more premium offerings at home.

Throughout the crisis alcohol brands have demonstrated creativity and flexibility in how they connect with drinkers, shaking up the industry and setting the course for years to come.

18th July | Katie Watson
R&T launches Brooklyn Pilsner to the masses

Brooklyn Brewery (part of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company) is the beer brand that revolutionised the American craft beer scene, and is renowned for its premium, flavourful range of craft beers. But when it came to breaking into the premium world category with its crisp and refreshing new pilsner, it needed… Read more

9th May | Matt de Leon
R&T Helps Buildxact launch into UK market

If you’re in the construction industry, learn this name: Buildxact. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will soon. And if you’re a small residential builder, knowing the name could transform your life and your business. Read more

26th April | Jessica Aldersley-Hey
A Whole New World?

As the world opens up again once more, and we try not to mention the dreaded C word, we’ve been getting back into the swing of things and hosting events IRL – much to journalists’ (and our!) delight. From sipping rum in Cuba to launching new whiskeys in Dublin and… Read more

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27th January | Alex Cook back

What you need to know about the no/low alcohol boom

As
the month of abstinence, otherwise known as Dry January, draws to a close, many
participants are eagerly awaiting a hard-earned drink. However, with a flurry
of “no-lo” (no-to-low alcohol) beers and spirits hitting the shelves and increasingly
inventive mocktail menus, there are signs a more permanent shift in drinking
habits is underway led by health-conscious millennials.

What
began as a grass-roots challenge, launched by UK charity Alcohol Change in 2012, has today evolved into a national
movement with an estimated six million Brits pledging to go dry for 31 days.[1]

A
movement, it seems, that is influencing our drinking tendencies long term with
the World Health Organisation reporting a 5% decrease in global alcohol
consumption since the turn of the century, particularly in Europe and the US,
and most significantly among younger drinkers. So, as the no-lo trend shifts
from the periphery to the mainstream, what can we learn from these brands from
a communications perspective? 

One
only has to look at the exponential rise of category pioneers Seedlip – which
now has a presence in over 25 countries – to recognise what can be said for identifying
a gap in the market. Founder Ben Branson launched the non-alcoholic spirit in
2015 to solve the dilemma of “what to drink when you’re not drinking”. By
offering consumers a sophisticated non-alcoholic drink which fits with their
lifestyle choices, Seedlip has successfully positioned itself as a quality alternative
rather than an inferior substitute.

Across
the no-lo sector marketers are tapping into this behavioural shift by
acknowledging that socialising needn’t be synonymous with alcohol consumption,
and non-drinkers still want to catch up with friends without the pressure of
drinking. Scottish beer giant Brewdog brought this message to life through an
experiential campaign earlier this January when it opened the world’s first alcohol free bar in central London to promote its AF
(alcohol-free) offerings. Similarly, Heineken has put the full weight of its PR
arsenal behind the launch of its ‘Say Yes’ campaign as it demonstrate its alcohol free
range as an enabler of a positive lifestyle which  people can enjoy at mid-week drinks, lunchtime
beers or Sunday evening events.

Elsewhere,
low alcohol brands have been capitalising on greater freedom to make claims
about the supposed health benefits of their drinks in comparison to
restrictions placed upon traditional alcohol brands. This has seen a rise in
‘healthy’ alcoholic drinks that are designed to appeal to ‘generation wellness’
thanks their low calorie, carbohydrate and gluten content. Californian craft
beer brand Sufferfest,
which uses the tag line ‘will sweat for beer’, is doing this particularly well.
It uses its low-gluten, electrolyte filled, sports performance enhancing beer
as a point of difference in its communication to consumers. In doing so, the sector
is changing the concept of non-drinking from one of necessity to a positive and
deliberate choice.

Given
the paradigm shift in people’s perceptions towards alcohol, the established
brands would do well to learn from the no-lo category’s effective response to consumer
demands and behavioural shifts. Ultimately, the no-lo boom has taught us that
today’s consumers are making more informed decisions about their tipple and
expect brands to communicate exactly where their offerings fit with modern
lifestyles.

[1] Alcohol Change

18th July | Katie Watson
R&T launches Brooklyn Pilsner to the masses

Brooklyn Brewery (part of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company) is the beer brand that revolutionised the American craft beer scene, and is renowned for its premium, flavourful range of craft beers. But when it came to breaking into the premium world category with its crisp and refreshing new pilsner, it needed… Read more

9th May | Matt de Leon
R&T Helps Buildxact launch into UK market

If you’re in the construction industry, learn this name: Buildxact. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will soon. And if you’re a small residential builder, knowing the name could transform your life and your business. Read more

26th April | Jessica Aldersley-Hey
A Whole New World?

As the world opens up again once more, and we try not to mention the dreaded C word, we’ve been getting back into the swing of things and hosting events IRL – much to journalists’ (and our!) delight. From sipping rum in Cuba to launching new whiskeys in Dublin and… Read more

Load more
See our latest work
Visit our portfolio
Read our latest news
Visit all latest news