I’ve attended two beer conferences in the last several weeks and there were times in each when I could have closed my eyes and thought I was at a non-alcoholic conference focused on low-cal drinks. Both conferences referenced spiked seltzers, kombuchas, hard sodas, and ciders – almost at times anything but beer. As beer has lost share of stomach to wine and spirits (and likely more and more to cannabis), the big breweries are turning to “light” products. Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal captured this trend.
But it’s been happening with wine and spirits brands as well.
It may have all started in 2016 when ABI announced that they aim to make low to no-alc products 20% of their portfolio by 2025. Maybe it was Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl Margarita launch. Or maybe it was the launch of Voli vodka (the name comes from light vodka) which claimed lower calories as a result of its lower proof.
And now we see brands like Gem & Bolt mezcal, a truly unique spirits brand in which First | Bev has an investment, which expresses the benefits of a liquid with healing plant benefits.
As consumers focus more and more on health and wellness – on ingredients and sources and labeling – alc companies will embrace more innovations and acquisitions to help their portfolios become more health-conscious. It’s a trend I don’t see stopping any time soon.