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Alcoholic beverages: these are the trends for 2021


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Alcoholic beverages with reduced alcohol content are in demand: Since Corona at the latest, people want to live more consciously and at the same time find joy in new tastes: The major developments in the food and beverage industry in the direction of conscious consumption are also bringing changes in the alcoholic beverages segment.


Smoothies, functional drinks, tea and flavoured water drinks are literally on everyone's lips - now alcoholic drinks with a reduced alcohol content also want to provide refreshment. Alcoholic beverages that contain less alcohol and fewer calories are supposed to put less strain on the organism and at the same time bring new, fruity taste experiences. Especially during the - still lasting - pandemic, alcoholic beverages, which intensify the summer feeling, get a new meaning in the "staycation” or vacation closer to home. Ready to drink beverages with tropical flavours or flavours from other countries in general have not only been popular during the main holiday season since COVID-19 at the latest. After all, with drinks that remind you of vacation even at home you can easily escape everyday life for a short period of time.

Reduced alcohol is the trend

It is no longer decisive that the cocktail consumed on a nice terrace contains alcohol. Nielsen emphasizes that particularly light “spritz cocktails”, which are also becoming more widespread in the non-alcoholic beverages segment, are becoming increasingly popular. General wellbeing is the driving factor for the trend towards alcohol reduced drinks - and the pandemic has once again accelerated the already existing trend. According to FMCG Gurus, 70 percent of consumers said in 2020 that they had improved their diet in the last twelve months to boost their immune health - and out of these, 20 percent also reduced their alcohol consumption for this purpose. 66 percent of global consumers focus on reducing calories - which is particularly important for previously very sweet alcoholic ready to drink beverages and high-alcoholic beverages, which at the same time contain many calories.

Expert forecasts assume that by 2024 there will be 31 percent more non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks in the global top 10 markets. The latter comprise 75 percent of the global consumption of these products.
Since consumers tend to drink less alcohol, beer and cider brands in particular will globally conquer supermarket shelves with reduced alcohol content in the future, as well as Hard Seltzer. For example, 43 percent of Spanish consumers say that they prefer to drink alcohol reduced or even non-alcoholic beer.
According to Mintel, companies especially in beer and cider production now have new opportunities if they invest in innovative flavours, organic ingredients and lighter recipes.

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Alcoholic beverages are becoming innovative

Many manufacturers made the Corona emergency a virtue and launched a suitable drink in response to the lockdowns. An Australian beer label, for example, made it its business to keep consumers happy with a “stay at home” beer during lockdowns.

Furthermore it is important to disrupt the temporary monotony at home with taste and visual surprises and not to impair general wellbeing as much as possible.
For example, a non-alcoholic beer with Reishi mushrooms was launched in the UK, a Belgian label launched a low calorie and low carb beer, a French brewery jumped on the big top trend of mixing alcoholic beverages with tea and created a mix made from beer with a high quality tea that has undergone a fermentation process for five years. In addition to various types of tea, the flavours apple, tropical fruits, citrus fruits and berries are currently leading the global beer and cider launches.

Currently, botanicals are also of major interest looking at the hit list of ingredients for beer drinks. And in addition to beer mixes with tea, some new products also show that even coffee is an aromatic companion for beer drinks!
As you have probably already recognized, the following also applies to alcoholic beverages in 2021: If you want to attract the attention of consumers, you have to come up with something special - and you can take some bold decisions. There are no limits to creativity - especially when the young and adventure-hungry target group should be reached and impressed. Fruit seccos and fruit wine-based cocktails with refreshing flavours and combinations are also perfect for this - regardless of whether they are alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

beer mix_reduced alcohol beer mix

Environmental friendliness is the key

In addition to personal enjoyment, the ecological aspect of the production and packaging of beverages is increasingly becoming a focus point. For example, 69 percent of UK consumers say they prefer environmentally friendly beer. For example, a German brewery had produced a 100 percent climate-neutral beer, which it also clearly communicated on the label. One brewery in the UK goes even further by promoting the “first carbon negative beer”.

Those who rely not only on natural, plant based ingredients but also on environmentally friendly packaging for alcoholic beverages will be favoured by conscious consumers and win their hearts. Packaging is increasingly moving into the focus of consumers: For 72 percent of consumers in Italy and Spain, the topic of waste by packaging increased in the past year. 71 percent of beer drinkers in the UK believe that it is crucial for beer brands to use environmentally friendly packaging and 47 percent of this consumer group are in favour of refillable beer bottles. Anyone who clearly communicates the benefits for environmental protection on the pack can score points!

Spirits: high end and uniqueness are in demand

In the area of spirits, the demand for high-quality and innovative products is increasing significantly.
While classic vodka has always enjoyed great popularity, in the future it will increasingly be presented in reduced-calorie versions but also highlighted with unusual flavours such as yuzu or kumquat. A number of new, innovative flavours can also be expected with whiskey. Here, innovation is a recipe for success, too: 28 percent of consumers state that they are willing to pay more for spirits with unique ingredients. The thirst for adventure in terms of taste seems to have a real impact in this category. New cocktail launches that promote fruit and vegetable juices in combination with alcohol are also particularly surprising.

All in all, in this segment less sugar is just as important as a novel overall positioning that is exciting, interesting and “instagrammable”!

It also gets exciting when classic alcoholic beverages such as sherries, vermouths or sakés with little or no alcohol increasingly find their way into the supermarket shelves.


The new awareness of general wellbeing does not stop in front of the alcoholic beverages segment. Alcohol free or alcohol reduced variants are becoming increasingly popular and also low-calorie products should not be missing among the new launches. Alcohol-reduced beer and craft beer combined with fruits, botanicals and tea as well as fruit seccos and wines with innovative flavours that offer taste sensations conquer the hearts of consumers, as do all alcoholic beverages that can be bought in environmentally friendly and sustainable packaging.

Sources: „Beverage Trends – The latest trends and product highlights in juices, beer and carbonated soft drinks“, Dora Szarvasi, Mintel 2019)
„Beverage Trends – The latest trends and product highlights in juices, beer and carbonated soft drinks“, Dora Szarvasi, Mintel 2019)
“A year of innovation in beer and cider”, 2021, Mikolaj Kaczorowski, Mintel, February 2021
“It’s time for tea in beer and cider”, Jenny Zegler, Mintel, April 2021
“A year of innovation in RTD, wine & spirits, 2021, Mikolaj Kaczorowski, Mintel, January 2021
FMCG Gurus / AUSTRIA JUICE trend presentation


Gerd Diefenthäler

Gerd DiefenthälerAuthor

Market Intelligence & Innovation Manager


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