That’s according to new research by digital agency Kerve, which claimed the UK alcohol market will follow in the footsteps of the US’s where Tequila is growing faster than the overall spirits category.
The report predicts that “trend-hunting consumers” will follow America’s lead and move on from gin and into ultra-premium Tequila, which accounts one third of the total category spend in the US.
Gin sales are expected to remain strong but customers will seek new flavours and hyper-local products from independent distilleries, the report claimed.
Kerve said this trend will see big drinks manufacturers open their own local and micro distilleries, using ingredients from the local surroundings. This trend was covered by The Morning Advertiser last year, when gin educator David T Smith highlighted the opportunities of hyper-local gin.
Director at Kerve and report author Sam Taylor believed the rise of hyper-local was a response to waning interest in big businesses.
He said: “The backlash against globalisation, which led 2016’s dramatic political changes, is also leading to big changes in consumer behaviour.
“Big is no longer better: consumers want more personal and intimate experiences and products, reflective of their locality.”
Such a trend is already rife within the craft beer sector, with researchers at Nielsen reporting 52% of craft beer drinkers citing locality as an important factor in their buying decisions.
Locality can also go further and Kerve predicts there will be a rise in the number alcoholic drinks producers working with customers on personalised beverages.
“A personal approach remains important for creating meaningful relationships with customers,” Taylor said.
“It is expected that breweries and distilleries will enable customers to create their own drinks in micro-runs, either via their websites or at tasting sessions in tap rooms and venues.”
This has already begun to establish itself in the UK, with companies such as Cambridge Consultants developing apps to allow drinkers to tailor wine to their tastes.
Brewhouse & Kitchen
Beer’s equivalent is the Brewhouse & Kitchen concept, which has three sites in the south, where customers can brew their own beer.
Such experiences are likely to be sought more frequently by consumers who want adventure. This is also driving a slow down in e-commerce sales, which are predicted to amount to just 19.3% of total UK retail sales this year.
Traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses are, as a result, becoming a bigger part of online-only businesses, such as Amazon, which has opened stores in order to give customers more “intimate, brand-focused” experiences, said Taylor.
He added: “The quality and range of alcohol products has increased dramatically over the past few years.
“The renewed focus on craft and ingredients has been triggered by the booming independent distilleries and breweries.
“Encouragingly, for consumers, the major alcohol brands seem to have adopted the consumers’ taste for experimentation and adventure, which spans new product development, packaging and marketing.”