The craft spirits industry is having a moment right now, but it might not be for the reason you think. Before the pandemic hit, the market for craft spirits was on the rise with an annual growth rate of 27 percent and $6.1 billion in sales. The beginning of the pandemic in early 2020 slammed the brakes on that growth as people stopped going out to bars and grocery stores.
Necessity is the mother of invention and change in government regulations, though. Supported by changes in law, distilleries and retailers have found innovative ways to connect with consumers and those changes are most likely here to stay. Here are a few reasons why the global craft spirits market is expected to grow by 23 percent between 2021-2025.
The intersection of innovation with opportunity is creating momentum for craft spirits distillers and retailers, with a new generation of consumers not tied to buying traditional products in traditional ways. When the pandemic prompted several states to make changes in distribution and other regulations, many distillers and retailers saw an opportunity to meet new consumers where they are: with online shopping and delivery and cocktails-to-go.
With customers not able to shop in liquor stores or visit their favorite craft distillery’s tasting room, some states like West Virginia and Kentucky legalized direct shipping for spirits to support local distilleries. The American Craft Spirits Association tracks laws in seven states, now allowing direct shipping from any distillery. Two states allow in-state-only shipping. But an even bigger change is happening with direct-to-consumer sales.
Thirty-five states changed laws allowing restaurants and bars to sell cocktails to go, meaning patrons can order a drink with their takeout. Fifteen have made the change permanent, and others may follow since the change has been wildly popular with customers.
Both of these changes may have been driven by the pandemic. However, consumers have proved that they want this kind of convenience, offering an opportunity for businesses to meet the consumer where they are.
Convenience in purchasing isn’t the only innovation driving the craft spirits market. Coming right on the heels of the hard seltzer trend are canned cocktails, with multiple craft distillers making their entry into the market recently.
The market for ready-to-drink cocktails is growing rapidly. In 2020, the global market totaled $4.9 billion. In 2028, it’s expected to reach $13.4 billion.
These premium drinks cater to a broad range of tastes. They’re a hit with younger consumers because they are convenient to buy, carry, and drink – there’s no liquor cabinet of ingredients to maintain and if you’re throwing a party it’s easy to please everyone with their favorite drink. For example, if your audience includes younger people getting married, canned cocktails allow the couple to offer a wide selection with less mess and no bartender required.
Consumers are looking for high-quality craft spirits that are easy to buy and fun to drink. Now is the time to jump into this growing market, and Next Century Spirits is ready to work with you.
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