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Alcohol Trends 2018

27 July 2018

Alan Walsh, Strategic Insights & Planning, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board



A snapshot of some of the latest alcohol trends highlighted at the recent Imbibe Live event in London (Stylus, 2018).

New & Innovative Flavours

Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable of flavour characteristics and pairings of alcohol, and are looking for more complex and unique flavours. Some gin distilleries ae starting to move towards a more savoury finish to their gins, through the use of oak barrels (as seen in whiskey production).


British distillery Mark Miller’s 9 Moons, is a cask-aged gin finished in a Bourbon cask. The gin is aged in Iceland, where the climate is optimal, enhancing the cassia & liquorice root flavour.


Makar Oak Aged Gin by Glasgow Distillery Co., is aged in virgin oak casks over a period of 10 weeks, giving the gin smoky oak notes alongside typically vibrant juniper flavours.


Founded by a group of chefs, Danish distillery Empirical Spirits have set out to push the boundaries with experimental liqueurs which delight and surprise. Illustrated by their “brashly” named “F*ck Trump & His Stupid F*cking Wall”; a spirit made from habanero peppers distilled on barley koji, Belgian saison yeast and pilsner malt.


Crazy Gin, founded by a first generation British-Indian couple looking to marry their British & Punjab backgrounds by combining the traditional Punjab drink lassi, with the quintessentially British dry gin.


Growing Importance of the Multisensory


As brands look to stand out and position themselves in line with changing consumer preferences, we are seeing an increase in the importance placed on the multisensory aspect of food & drink across all categories. In the alcohol/spirits space, we are seeing scent playing an ever more influential role.


French liqueur brand H.Theoria, have created a range of 3 liqueurs by utilising the same processes and techniques used in the production of perfume. Each liqueur contains 25-30 individually distilled ingredients, blended specifically to evoke feelings and to trigger memories.


London based tonic brand Franklin & Sons utilise dual flavour profiles per product, with one flavour focused on taste, while the other focused on the scent. Its rosemary and black olive tonic has a strong rosemary aroma, with a robust olive flavour in the mouth.


Thought Starters

By thinking about your product in a holistic, 360 degree way in terms of taste, sight, touch & smell – what aspects of your brand/product can you dial up in order to appeal to multiple senses?


Can you incorporate innovative processes/flavours into your product/brand to help it stand out?


Source: Alcohol Trends 2018: Imbibe Live, Stylus, July 2018: https://www.stylus.com/jsxmgm