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Brand experience for alcohol brands in 2021

Many believe that we will enter a period of hedonism similar to roaring twenties after the pandemic of 1918 and 1919 – a ‘we survived, let’s have fun’ mentality – and all the excesses that it brings.

This is a potentially huge opportunity for the alcohol sector. However, the Millennial and Gen Z consumer in particular are prioritising mental and physical health and there is a longer-term trend towards moderation – the success and continued rise of aspirational low and no alcohol brands is testament to this. They are also guided by a sense of wanting to do good in the world and look for brands that share values.

So, more consideration has to be given around brand experiences than just an opportunity to party and sample booze.


Cocktail masterclasses and in-home cocktail kits – yawn, it was done to death during Covid. Curate a destination event that creates an opportunity to incorporate the liquid and tell the brand story in an interactive, multi-layered and immersive experience.


Consider building your activation around a cause that demonstrates shared values with your Gen Z or Millennial audience. Keep up the fun and dial down the worthiness though…


The trend for direct to consumer marketing (ecommerce rather than on or off trade) has
been accelerated by Covid. Consider how to use experiences to bring brand and taste credentials to life using physical ‘third spaces’ to trial and drive to online for purchase.


With an increased focus on quality rather than quantity, our more discerning audiences are seeking deeper sensorial drinking experiences that they can share with friends. The premiumisation trend of recent years continues as spending on commuting, social activities and holidays has decreased. Curate premium multi-sensorial experiences that surprise and delight.


Covid has also accelerated an increasingly blurred line between on-trade and off-trade as kitchens look more like bars and bars look more like someone’s living room. And with 44% of alcohol e-shoppers buying online in 2020 versus 19% in 2019, at-home consumption is likely to remain

a drinking occasion in itself even after the pubs have opened. Leverage this trend by considering in-home experiences in addition to face to face experiences outside the home.


The growth of RTDs continues with the likes of hard seltzers, flavoured RTDs and pre-mixed cocktails outpacing growth of other alcohol categories globally. This is likely to have been driven by portability and single-serve convenience alongside the practicality of a hygienic serve.

With trial and education around ‘perfect serve’ being a key objective of experiential activation for alcohol brands, make sure practicalities around hygiene, convenience, quality of serve and the environment are well considered.