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Five Must Reads for Competitive Advantage in Drinks – Looking at Beer, Cider, Spirits, Innovation and Consumer Trends

Amy Bond, Assistant Librarian and Information Specialist

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the drinks category. Where, how and why consumers drink shifted. As the world starts to reopen some changes might stick, while new behaviours will emerge (IWSR, 2021). Drinks manufactures need to stay on top of these trends to stay relevant to consumers. Bord Bia’s library service can help you keep up to date with the latest developments in your category. Below is an overview of some recent research reports that will provide crucial insights into the category.


The Future of Beer and Cider: 2021 (Mintel, March 2021)

Beer and cider will continue to be shaped by consumer health consciousness and sustainability priorities. eCommerce emerges as a retail channel to watch. COVID-19 containment measures changed consumer habits and access to beer and cider in 2020. Beer and cider innovations showcase that the future of the category will include more moderate low- and no-alcohol products, new flavor options and broadened sustainability claims.


Spirits in Eastern Europe (Euromonitor, June 2021)

Eastern Europe is still leading in spirits per capita consumption globally. Despite vodka continuing to dominate spirits, consumer taste preferences shift towards flavour sophistication. This drives other spirits, whiskies and brandy. Mid- and high income consumers prefer premium and higher price vodkas, considering them less harmful to health and inducing lighter hangovers. Food/drink/tobacco specialists is the best performing channel in 2015-2020, driven by two major players in Russia.


Innovation Update Q3 2021: Alcoholic Drinks (GlobalData, July 2021)

This research is part of GlobalData's Quarterly Innovation Updates series which is based on innovative products that have been recorded by GlobalData's Product Launch Analytics and Pack-Track databases in the previous quarter. This research identifies notable new product launches across the globe by innovation types, flavours and ingredients, top themes based on GlobalData’s Consumer Theme Map, and packaging.


IWSR Global Trends 2021 (IWSR, August 2021)

The Covid-19 pandemic had a profound effect on global beverage-alcohol trends. Pre-existing trends such as premiumisation and health- or ethics-driven choices remain relevant in a post-Covid world. However, new and unexpected nuances have emerged from the extended lack of in person interaction in on-trade settings, including more at-home and digital brand experiences. According to Wine Intelligence consumer research, high-quality, sippable drinks and drinks well suited to the home premise were of particular interest to many consumers in 10 key markets at the turn of 2021.


How a Desire for Newness Is Shaking Up Spirits (Canvas8, April 2021)

The spirits industry has long thrived on tradition, with brands often governed by a tightly bound set of rules and very particular ways of doing things. Distillers may have pushed the boundaries with blends or new ageing techniques, but this was mainly to keep experts and connoisseurs interested and rarely overhauled the industry itself. However, modern challenger brands are shaking things up, manipulating every element from where and how the liquor is made to how it’s classified. Consequently, the sector is taking a long hard look at itself and redefining its foundations and values to stay relevant.


Any Bord Bia clients who want to learn more on how to access content from these reports, contact thethinkinghouse@bordbia.ie.



Canvas8, 2021. How a Desire for Newness Is Shaking Up Spirits. [online] Canvas8. Available at: <http://canvas8.com> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

Euromonitor, 2021. Spirits in Eastern Europe. [online] Mintel. Available at: <http://euromonitor.com> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

GlobalData, 2021. Innovation Update Q3 2021: Alcoholic Drinks. [online] GlobalData. Available at: <http://globaldata.com> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

IWSR, 2021. IWSR Global Trends 2021. [online] IWSR. Available at: <http://theiwsr.com> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

Mintel, 2021. The Future of Beer and Cider: 2021. [online] Mintel. Available at: <http://mintel.com> [Accessed 20 September 2021].