From repositioning notorious spirits to reformulating soft drinks, our drink trends September 2022 report highlights the sector’s versatility and commitment to innovation.
Tequila sets the bar
More drinkers are taking a shot at tequila thanks the premiumisation and rebranding of this famously sweet but sharp spirit.
Its sales have been growing globally in recent years. It has shifted from being seen as a party spirit to now viewed as versatile, trendy and even ‘healthy’ drink.
In the UK, tequila is one of only three spirits to be growing with 1.5m bottles sold in 2020/21, according to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.
A raft of celebrities have invested in premium tequila, agave and mezcal brands. These endorsements have these spirits’ positioning as drinks to be sipped and savoured – rather than ‘slammed’.
Wider trends for aged or craft creations have been applied to tequila too, creating smoother versions.
Ageing is always an important part of tequila production. Using charcoal filtering, oak casks, or red wine barrels distillers are enhancing aromas and elevating flavours to deliver smoother flavoured tequilas, or even creating attractive pink tequilas.
Seizing on the relative health benefits of tequila – it’s low in sugars, calories and congeners, which cause hangovers – a simpler, low sugar cocktail of tequila, lime and soda is appealing to the health-conscious drinkers.
As well as premiumisation of the spirit, flavoured tequila options and tequila liqueurs offering a ‘gateway’ for new tequila drinkers.
The flavoured tequila category is tipped for growth now, using citrus or tropical fruits like grapefruit, mango and pineapple.
These options will appeal to the drinkers who’ve typically only enjoyed tequila in cocktails like premixed margaritas or mojitos.
New drinks flavours & latest releases
Premixed margaritas are just some of the new premixed cocktails to have been launched this summer season. Edinburgh Gin added Negroni Spritz and Lemon Spritz to its roster of RTDs while Flying Embers has created Mojito and Margarita inspired premixed cocktails.
Ready-to-drink premixed cocktails have paved the way for canned wine now too. Stylishly-canned wine soda has been launched by Woodbridge, blending California wine with classic sodas in orange, grapefruit and lemon lime flavours.
Giving a new spin to the ultimate soda, Coca Cola has unveiled an unusual new flavour. The soft drinks giant has launched Dreamworld to put its ‘Creations series’ to bed. This limited-edition coke tastes “beyond drinkers’ wildest dreams”, Coca Cola promises.
Also making dreams come true is premium winery Tempus Two, launching a Prosecco Gin. In a ‘world first’, the Australian makers have distilled juniper berries with grapes, rather than grains, to create a light, floral gin.
Prosecco Gin joins the long list of flavoured gin creations on the market. But even with endless gin flavours available, it seems simple is best.
A survey of thousands of gin lovers found that strawberry gin is the favourite for one-in-five (21.9%) drinkers. Berry-based flavoured gin is particularly popular with younger drinkers, over half of whom say it’s their preferred way to enjoy a gin.
The rise of alcohol free
However, younger drinkers are also leading the charge in more mindful alcohol consumption. Gen Z drinkers are those most likely to be choosing alcohol free options, according to research commissioned by Lucky Saint, a low ABV brewery.
This also found that up to one-third of pub visits involve no alcohol at all, as 55% of adults are actively reducing their alcohol consumption, up from 40% in 2020.
Instead many are switching to beverages traditionally viewed as children’s drinks, encouraged by the reformulation and premiumisation of many soft drinks and juices.
Children’s drinks go functional
The children’s drinks category has overlapped with the functional drinks category now too. These options are increasingly less sweet and more considered in their balance of flavours and health benefits.
Low sugar drinks are a staple of the children’s drinks category, driven by growing public awareness of the health implications of high sugar diets. Some have reduced or completely cut out the sugar content while others have replaced it, like stevia drinks using naturally derived sweetener.
Children’s drinks like fruit juice or pops are targeted by the new HFSS regulations, set to be introduced next month. The legislation, governing how food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) is positioned or promoted for retail, has further fuelled the development of low sugar drinks and no sugar drinks.
Low sugar alternatives aren’t the only way to give children’s drinks a health kick though. Some are having extra vitamins, minerals, probiotics and protein content added in.
The most adventurous brands are even creating fruit juice drinks with bases of carrot, spinach and kale – so if kids won’t eat their greens, they can drink them instead.
Plant-based milks aimed at children are also growing, including options for babies and toddlers and flavoured options enriched with calcium.
Set the next trends
Simpsons are leaders in the science, art and innovation of drinks flavours.
Working with drinks brands and manufacturers, we are at the forefront of emerging beverage trends. Using our knowhow and experience our customers are the first movers in their categories.
Speak to us today to seize on, or set, the next drink market trends.