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

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

22nd July, 2020 by Alex Cook

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.