Can we dub 2019 the “year of the beverage”?
In many ways, this past year was transformative for a wide array of beverage categories. Drinks that many of us had never heard of—or dreamed of—have made their way to the mainstream in a big way. These recently created categories, plus an unprecedented number of new individual product launches, make it an exciting time to work in this space.
Just a few of the trends we’ve seen include:
While messing around with the people’s pilsner hasn’t gone over well in the past, there were some notable flavored beer successes in 2019. If strawberry lemonade flavored beer sounds strange, then think again—a much-lauded launch in this category this past year became a genuine cultural phenomenon. Everyone WANTED to hate it, but it was actually… pretty good. We expect to see growth in this category in the future and in 2020, so are keeping our eye on it!
CBD Enhanced Beverages
A fairly new beverage area, CBD-enhanced beverages continue to arrive on the scene at a fast pace. These drinks are made from cannabidiol extracted from the marijuana plant flowers, leaves and resins and are non-psychoactive. There are a wide array of beverages in this category, ranging from cold brew, to citrus sparkling water, to herbal tea all infused with CBD. Both beverage and CBD companies are leading the charge here, and this trend is indicative of the growth of the cannabis and CBD industries nationwide, especially in light of the (restricted) nationwide legalization of hemp (the plant from which CBD is extracted).
If you don’t think coffee and spirits go hand-in-hand (unless you’re seeking hair of the dog), think again. This category has been lauded as the next big drink trend. In fact, we’ve seen major beverage manufacturers jump on the bandwagon with hard cold brew coffees galore. This category has met some controversy in the past, with a potential FDA ban on alcoholic energy drinks back in 2010. But based on the additions to the market last year, and many more that are slated to launch in 2020, this is a category we can expect to see grow in the coming months.
Consumers are seeking alternative beverages that align with their increasing concerns surrounding health and sugar content. Many new beverage offerings are rising to the challenge and providing more healthful options. Fruit flavored waters that are low in sugar are one popular example, as well as a surge in flavored coconut waters with a large variety of flavor mixes.
It looks like alcoholic sparkling beverages are here to stay. In fact, demand has been so high for this kind of product that out-of-stocks were a widespread issue over the past few months. This fad may be here to stay with one popular brand growing more than 300% per year for the last four years, and 2019 seeing many more players coming into the market in the hard seltzer category, and more growth projected for 2020.
Every marketer and product developer knows that we are living in an age of convenience. Consumers want everything at their fingertips and on their terms, and a company called “Drinkworks” delivered in 2019. This joint venture between the single-serving coffee pod giant, Keurig, and Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) allows consumers to easily mix their own cocktails using disposable pods. The company’s proprietary drinkmaker allows people to prepare cocktails, beer and other drinks at home, and they have even partnered with some big brand names to make classic and specialty adult beverages. You can read more about this here.
There’s no doubt that we’ll see more innovations coming into the beverage industry in 2020, building on the momentum of an exciting 2019. As brands begin to roll out new labeling, as required by the FDA, and consumers continue to push the envelope on what they are seeking from a health, flavor and convenience standpoint, we predict that store shelves will be stocked with even more new beverages in 2020. Want to learn more? Reach out to us.