Trends that are likely to keep the alco-beverage industry on a high in 2021
COVID-19 had an initial adverse impact on the alco-bev industry, but it seems to have devised new ways to bounce back and thrive in 2021.
The alco-bev industry and its offerings have for long and rightly been associated as an integral part of social gatherings, events, and occasions. The highest projection is with Friday and Saturday nights at clubs and bars.
The industry, right from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, took a heavy blow owing to the subsequent nationwide lockdown and social distancing norms – this had an adverse effect on manufacturers, liquor shop owners, and bartenders/mixologists.
In India, the alcohol and beverages sector, once considered recession-proof, also faced its share of declining sales, given that it does not fall under the category of essential commodities.
However, people staying at home for longer periods of time did lead to a rise in the need for in-home entertainment and time out from everyday chores, at the work and home fronts. As soon as liquor sales resumed in the country, consumers were slowly seen trickling back and celebrating occasions and events with alcohol and spirits, with parties and get-togethers. It was just that the destinations moved online.
Almost 70 percent of alcohol distribution in India happens through liquor vends or shops, while 30 per cent happens on the premise, in bars, pubs, hotels, and restaurants. The latter has continued to stay low, given continued social distancing norms and the fact that most units are slowly re-opening with limited staff and bartenders. With the situation still far from normal, mixologists have largely been confined to their homes with little to no new work opportunities.
The year 2020 has been transformative in ways more than one, and every industry has adapted and evolved to new(er) work methods and opportunities to thrive and make better out of this collective crisis that we are facing at a global level. New ways have been devised in a short span of time in the alco-bev industry as well.
Digitisation has been an integral part of these developments and has proved that while nothing can replicate meeting and greeting in person, there are still fun ways to do things from a distance.
With a vision to create a digital platform that builds an ecosystem of the hospitality industry, alco-bev brands, and spirit enthusiasts, this year and the rapid shift towards digital platforms acted as a catalyst for change.
The platform has aided us to not only provide consumers with exclusive consumer-driven cocktail/beverage-centric experiences in the comfort of home, but has also majorly helped in providing further growth opportunities to bartenders and other members of the industry.
Trends that will emerge in 2021
With the year ending with learnings of new ways and adaptive ways to function, we came to a realisation that team efforts, a never-give-up attitude, and readiness to adapt made this a year that we shall remember for a long time.
The year 2021 may come with more challenges as there is a lot more to learn and do, but we’re ready to change and continue re-imagining new business growth opportunities.
Here are a few trends that are anticipated to emerge in the coming year:
Shift to digitisation
The year 2020 has proved that digitisation is the way to go. With 2021 seeing continued social distancing norms, it is anticipated that consumers will continue to use digital platforms to connect and network with relevant industry experts. The next year will also see exclusive consumer-driven cocktail/beverage experiences in a digital setup.
Introduction to cocktail kits
Another trend that may see huge traction is cocktail kits. Restaurants, bars, and other outlets will have cocktail kits on their takeout menus in the coming year. These kits may contain all ingredients and instructions to create similar cocktails that can be enjoyed at home.
Increased whole bottle sales
Whole bottle sales at bars and restaurants have started to see an uptake after the pandemic hit. It is expected to further rise as consumers will continue to prefer placing orders for whole bottles when they choose to visit bars and restaurants.
Rise in demand for premium cocktails
Consumers quickly resorted to mixology at home with the onset of the pandemic. This has led to consumers becoming more aware and experimental when it comes to cocktails, so there are chances that bars and restaurants will move to creating more quality drinks and introduce newer recipes to keep up with the quality of their services.
Improved social media presence
It is a no-brainer that most bartenders and mixologists resorted to using social media platforms to showcase new recipes and continue to engage with consumers, even when bars and businesses were shut down. The year 2021 will continue to see more social media presence, from bartenders and bars/restaurants.
Edited by Teja Lele