Is your brand ready to turn over a new leaf? Or is it worried about an almighty hangover?
At Elephants Can’t Jump, we have once again been looking to the future of beer, ale and broader alcoholic drinks, and the role they will play in the years following the pandemic. Here are 10 key ways in which the world of beer may change:
1) Fewer pubs and fragmented & interesting restaurant formats.
Before COVID, pub numbers were already in rapid decline. We expect this trend to continue and to gather pace. Many consumers will not rush back to the pubs. Some because of fear and a need to social distance, and others because they have become used to drinking at home.
Some of the familiar restaurant chains may not re-open in the future and some chains will become smaller. Instead there will be different formats including dark restaurants, deliver- led formats and many that will develop a blend between sit-down and take-away. Some will pop-up in unusual environments, alfresco eating might become more normal and people may create semi-formal dining or restaurant experiences in their own homes.
Considerations: Are salesforces ready to react to a more fragmented restaurant base? Are businesses ready to respond to these changing needs and to greater numbers of buyers?
2) Home bars are here to stay.
Many have enjoyed the process of building their home bars, whether they are inside the home or at the bottom of the garden. Some of these have become communal spaces for their neighbours and for those local to the area. Those who have invested money and time into building their bars, may not head straight back to the pub when the opportunity arises.
Considerations: Will beer businesses be ready to serve these new consumers, who perhaps have needs that hover between B2B and B2C? Many owners of these home bars will want certain equipment or different pack sizes. Would they prefer to buy in bulk or perhaps even enjoy the process of having kegs delivered?
3) No and low will not slow.
No and low alcohol was doing well before COVID and has benefited strongly over the periods of lockdown.
Considerations: Is your business ready with no and low alcohol alternatives? Do you have gluten-free alternatives and vegan alternatives as consumers’ requirements broaden?
4) Continued influx of purpose driven businesses
More businesses are declaring a reason for their existence beyond just the commercial imperative. This seems to have struck a chord with many consumers, especially younger consumers coming into the alcohol world for the first time. They are looking for businesses with a heart and a reason for existence.
Consideration: Do your brands have a clear purpose for their existence, and do these appeal to today and tomorrow’s consumer base?
5) More time to smell the roses and the hops.
Consumers are showing every sign that they are happy to have more time to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. Quality seems to be trumping quantity. Many will not rush back to an over-busy lifestyle.
Consideration: Is your range set up to be considered and valued almost like wines: with tasting notes, food pairings and levels of appreciation beyond that of normal lagers and ciders?
6) Hard seltzers will continue to grow.
If 2019 was the ‘Summer of Seltzers’, then there will be more summers to come.
Consideration: Do you have a portfolio of beers that reflects the need for more hydration, better for you options and a demand for fewer artificial ingredients & lower sugar levels?
7) The rise of functional foods.
The trend towards functional foods has enjoyed a significant boost during the past year, given society’s interest in immunology, cognition and heart health.
Consideration: Is your portfolio ready to take advantage of this move?
8) D2C is now a richer experience.
The product that arrives through the door now comes with brand stories, drinking notes and suggested food pairings. Delivering products is no longer just a functional process but a rich experience, sometimes more experiential than buying a pint in a pub.
Consideration: Are you ready to take advantage of this developing channel alongside sales through traditional on-premise and off-premise channels?
9) Home events will change.
Perhaps consumers will invite fewer friends to their events. Perhaps more of these events will be alfresco. It is likely that some form of social distancing will become the norm and perhaps the continued use of face masks.
Considerations: Is your business ready to cater for different formats of home events? Are your communications ready to respond to this new format?
10) Big events will change too.
Glastonbury has been cancelled for the second year in a row. The Tokyo Olympics, if allowed to go ahead in the summer of 2021, will be the ‘Breakfast Olympics’ for those watching in Europe. The next World Cup in Qatar in 2022 will be held in November and December, and so these games are unlikely to be enjoyed around a barbecue outside.
Considerations: Is your business ready to supply the right products and services to suit consumer needs during these unusual times?