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June 24, 2024

2025: Five trends shaping the future of the drinks industry

Reviewing research, data, client insights, and more to identify five key themes set to shape the drinks industry next year and beyond

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“There’s a big difference between a short-term gimmick and a movement that reflects shifting consumer behavior” – David Beattie, drinks branding specialist

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The future of the drinks industry

As our Senior Client Director and beverage branding expert, David Beattie, writes: “When it comes to identifying which ‘trends’ will have legs – there’s a big difference between a short-term gimmick and a movement that reflects shifting consumer behavior.”

To plan for the evolving landscape of 2025, ambitious drinks brands and venues need to sift out the gimmicks, zone in on data-backed patterns, and tie their learnings together with a strong sense of brand.

Looking to the future, our team recently sat down for a drinks workshop at the studio.

We reviewed what’s going on in the industry, learnings from past and current clients within the sector, we shared research and data, and finally, explored what this could mean for the future of the drinks industry.

Below you’ll find the five trends – or themes – identified that are predicted to shape the competitive market of 2025.

If you’d like to meet with a member of our team to discuss your brand, email enquiries@wearecontinuous.net.

TREND 01

Mindful drinking

The data: The sale of non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits increased by 35% in 2023 (NIQ). NCSolutions also report that 41% of adults planned to drink less in 2024.

The rising trend of reducing our alcoholic intake is evident across the western world.

Reflected in the growing popularity of non-alcoholic beverages, today’s consumers – who are more informed on the health benefits of low, or alcohol-free living – are upping their engagement with more mindful alternatives.

Prepare to cater for the growing ‘sober-curious’ community with initiatives including the premiumisation of non-alcoholic options, exploring low alcohol alternatives, and creating health-functional options that feature the use of CBD, adaptogens, organic flavours, and vitamins.

When it comes to marketing strategies, incorporate positive messaging that promotes an offer beyond the product or service itself – one that centres around lifestyle, experience, and community.

TREND 02

Second nature sustainability

The data: 72% of UK consumers reveal that sustainability practices influence their choice of bar or pub. 58% will pay a premium for drinks served in venues with strong sustainability credentials (BBPA).

It’s no surprise that sustainability continues to be a hugely influential factor for consumers and businesses alike.

For drinks brands, sustainability efforts can be explored through a push on eco-friendly packaging, zero-waste practices, carbon neutral operations.

For on-trade venues, as well as the above, consumers want to see increased efforts to go local and artisanal by supporting producers, craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries, within your local community.

With a more educated consumer than ever before, it’s essential that all sustainability efforts are born from a place of authenticity.

With 86% of consumers stating that authenticity is important to them when deciding whether to support a brand (Gitnux), 91% rewarding brands for their authenticity through purchases and recommendations (Gitnux), and and 70% stating that ‘greenwashing’ is a red flag (Duncan & Toplis).

TREND 03

Mass personalisation

The data: More than a third of consumers expressed an interest in personalised products or services. 1 in 5 of those who expressed an interest are willing to pay a 20% premium. 42% of consumers want to be led by brands on customisation (Deloitte).

People are expressing a growing desire for tailored experiences, products, and services that reflect their individual preferences and style.

There’s an increased demand for personalised marketing campaigns, themed events and drinking experiences, and tailored loyalty programmes.

And for on-trade venues – in addition to the above – an increase in bespoke food and drink options, customisable menus, and tableside masterclasses.

People want to feel special. And with AI advancements, a more personalised offering can be achieved not just for individual customers but for the masses.

Investing in personalisation and customisation can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, improved customer experience, and – with the adoption of technological advancements – it can also drive operational efficiency.

TREND 04

Digital innovation

The data: 83% of people begin their restaurant discovery journey online, underscoring the importance of a robust digital presence for venues (Right Response AI).

Transitioning between physical reality and digital reality is becoming increasingly seamless.

Implementing digital advancements can, not only, help to simplify your customers’ experience, it can help to streamline operations.

For 2025, we can expect to see more digital innovations from mass personalisation and customisation (as outlined in the previous section) to AI-driven customer service, enhanced production processes, and innovative product development.

In venues, we should see a wider – and more developed – use of tableside tablets, interactive menus, and mobile ordering and payment methods.

With the implementation of advanced data analytics, businesses gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ preferences and will be able to modify their offers accordingly.

TREND 05

Branding that builds loyalty

The data: 77% of consumers state they have remained loyal to specific brands for more than 10 years. 61% of loyal customers go out of their way to spend with them. 75% of them will recommend a brand to friends and family (InMoment).

Brand loyalty is a lifeline. It can keep your business front and centre in the minds of customers, even if – due to unpredictable world circumstances, as we've experienced over the past few years – their spending habits have to temporarily stop.

To develop this lasting emotional connection, you need to have a flexible brand identity and exist in their world in a multitude of forms that offer more than just your product or service.

Each form has to be connected by a strong sense of brand that encapsulates your story, your values, your look and feel, what you stand for, and how you stand out from your competitors.

This could be through the creation of online communities, entertaining content, social groups, experiences, real-life entertainment, collaborations with like minded brands, merchandise, and so much more.

Through powerful branding, you can offer your customers a sense of belonging, a movement to be a part of, a lifestyle to adopt. Tangible and intangible ways to stay connected to the consumer not just for now, but for a lifetime.

If you’d like to learn more about branding, our experience within the drinks industry, or would like to speak to a member of our team, please email our Senior Client Director and drinks branding specialist, David Beattie, via david.beattie@wearecontinuous.net

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