Alcohol trends in 2022

As we enter 2022 after a turbulent year, (and an alcohol-fuelled festive period for many!) we wanted to take a look at what trends we are likely to see around Alcohol consumption this year as we settle into a new normal following shifts caused by the pandemic.

Bacardi recently released their Cocktail trends report 2022 that forecasted some key macro trends for the year ahead. These included premiumisation, the digital age, sustainability, and sobriety.

Alcohol trends #1: The UK has developed a thirst for more premium forms of alcohol

Following a difficult 2 years, which saw the age of the home bar and increased interest in at-home mixology, it seems the population has acquired a taste for more premium and sophisticated forms of alcohol.

The Bacardi consumer survey tells us that 30% of UK adults plan to drink more premium cocktails in 2022. This premiumisation has been noticed specifically amongst spirits such as Tequila, Dark Rum, Single Malt Whisky, Gin, and Mezcal.

It is a particularly exciting time for the Agave industry, as according to Kathy Parker, CMO of Patrón tequila, “Tequila is currently the second-fastest-growing category in value around the world” and was revealed as the top trending spirit for 62% of bartenders globally. “In the US there has been a shift in the perception of tequila from a party spirit to a sophisticated sipping serve, sitting alongside single malts”.

A 2022 Alcohol trend is UK adults new love of premium drinks

Alcohol trends #2: Even ready to drink (RTD) has moved up-market

In company with spirits, we are also witnessing increased demand for premium Ready to drink (RTD) options, pairing the appeal of both premiumisation and convenience. This trend began to build traction during the pandemic as outdoor socialising become a common occurrence, and Nielson revealed that the spirit-based RTD market surged 132% over the last 12 months.

Chris Sanderson of The Future Laboratory predicts a future of ‘beautiful packaging, challenging flavour profiles, and quality ingredients’ within the category.

Cocktails are becoming Insta-famous

Alcohol trends #3: Alcohol establishes its place in the world of e-com and social media

As with many aspects of life in 2022, we are also seeing a new digital age of alcohol consumption. Alongside other categories, the pandemic has expedited online purchasing of alcohol, as John Burke, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Bacardi states “The number of people who’ve had their first e-commerce experience of buying liquor online has accelerated the timeline for this channel in an unprecedented way and will create a permanent change in our industry structure.”

Along with e-commerce, social media platforms and apps are also contributing to the digital transformation of the alcohol category and are likely to continue to do so in 2022, with TikTok cocktail video content thriving, and apps such as Mix Lab, containing over 300 cocktail recipes and innovative recommendations predicted to take off this year.

Bacardi suggests that ‘conditions are ripe for digital platforms to play in the sweet spot between this cocktail craving and at-home mixology.

Alcohol trends #4: People are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of alcohol consumption

Tapping into another prominent trend that has been accelerated over the last couple of years, alcohol consumption is also beginning to take a stance on concerns around sustainability.

Following high exposure of environmental action in 2021, through the likes of COP26, people are becoming more conscious about their consumption habits, and alcohol is no exception. In 2022 we are therefore likely to see more demand for community credentials, local ingredients, ethically sourced and produced products and zero-waste cocktails.

Furthermore, consumers are likely to be perceptive to positive environmental contributions from manufacturers, as Jamie Lippman, Corporate Responsibility Director at Bacardi states, “today, the conversation on sustainability has moved on from how companies can minimize their environmental damage to how they can actively create a positive impact.”

Group of friends drinking alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails

Alcohol trends #5: Sobriety grows

Finally, sobriety is likely to impact the alcohol industry in 2022, as people become more health conscious, resulting in more interest in Non or Low ABV offerings (NoLo).

We are already witnessing some big brands reacting to this trend with Gordon’s launching their alcohol-free gin on 21st December 2021, building on the selection of NoLo brands already available and destined to grow.

This reconsidered approach to alcohol consumption ties back in with premiumisation and innovation, as many of those taking steps to reduce their alcohol intake are likely to desire unique and indulgent options when they do choose to drink.

In summary

The alcohol market has seen a shift during the pandemic, the results of which are likely to fully emerge during 2022. There is a huge opportunity for manufacturers to refocus their attention on premiumisation, digital platforms, sustainability, and NoLo options in order to appeal to a health and environmentally conscious, pleasure and convenience seeking generation.

Source: Bacardi Cocktail Trends report 2022    

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Written by Holly Adams, Research Manager at Spark Emotions.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Holly via email holly.adams@sparkemotions.com or connect with her on LinkedIn