Alcohol Industry Innovating Like Never Before

With Memorial Day around the corner and signs of the pandemic easing, the alcoholic beverage industry is gearing up for summer and beyond. Here are some recent highlights and innovations from the sector.

Champagne sales are popping

Whether it’s for meeting up with friends and loved ones in person or simply surviving lockdowns, Americans have more causes for celebration lately and some are popping bottles, reported CNBC (April 26). Champagne sales at retailers soared by about 103% in the U.S. for the four-week period ended April 3 compared with the same period a year ago, according to NielsenIQ.

Higher cannabis beverage sales 

Despite being a fragmented market made up of small and medium sized companies, the cannabis beverage market is poised for significant growth as marijuana legalization efforts continue. In fact, the global cannabis beverages market is expected to reach $2.8 billion by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 17.8%, according to Grand View Research, Inc.

Small-dose cannabis beverage Cann is advertised as a “cannabis-infused social tonic” and comes in three flavors. With THC beverages generating around $175 million in annual sales nationwide, Forbes (April 23) estimates that Cann will have about 5% market share in the U.S. by the end of 2021.

Hard seltzer and icicles

While White Claw was one of the first brands to capture the attention of consumers, the market has expanded and several major brands are doing battle in a so-called “hard seltzer war.” Beer brands such as Michelob Ultra, Bud Light, and Heineken all released their own versions of the beverage, while spirits manufacturers Jose Cuervo and Smirnoff also developed offerings.

Even Natural Light, a popular inexpensive light beer brand, is getting in on the action, announcing “Naturdays Frozen Icicles” will be available this summer only, reported Mass Live (April 21).

“We want to be the preferred alcohol brand — not just for beer — for drinkers between 21 and 30 years old,” Daniel Blake, vice president of US value brands at Anheuser-Busch told CNN Business.

Wine cocktails are on the rise

While past generations might think of more elegant Kir or Torrontes varieties when it comes to wine cocktails, the category has gone through somewhat of a transformation. Today, wine cocktails come in all flavors and sizes, and in ready-to-drink cans.

Further, wine cocktails grew 102% in dollar volume year-over-year in March 2021, while the related flavored wine category increased by 33%. The whole ready-to-drink cocktail market size is expected to reach $1.63 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 12%, reported Forbes (April 15).