2020 was a hell of a ride and thank God it's over. We have high hopes for 2021 because we are all sick and tired of drinking Quarantini during Zoom happy hours, aren’t we? So, let’s  look at what we can expect to drink this year. Cheers! 

More No-Alcohol Offerings

A few years ago, asking the bartender for zero-alcohol cocktail was a risky thing. At the very best, you could get a milkshake and an-old-fashioned look, the worst case scenario is that he would kick you out of the bar.  But now you can expect that the bartender will list you all possible variants of zero booze and make your beloved no-hangover-next-morning cocktail. 

Consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious, and for those seeking a low-calorie alternative, there are plenty of great non-alcoholic options. For example, Caleno and Everleaf created amazing non-alcoholic gin substitutes for those who experience the joy of non-drinking. Warner’s Distillery made 0% ABV gin alternatives such as Juniper Double Dry and Pink Berry and there will be even more choice of non-alcoholic alternatives in 2021. 

The Future Is Canned

There has been a huge increase in canned booze the past few years, and we think that 2021 is going to be the definitive year of the various canned drinks to-go.

More Hard Seltzer in 2021

Hard seltzer was the fastest-growing option on menus last year. Don’t expect the fun to stop. This year, we’ll probably see more new hard seltzer brands, delivering new tastes, new philosophy, and new packaging. Yes, we are pretty sure that the canned drinks producers will pay much attention to the packaging, making it not just pretty and unique but fully recyclable as well. Served Drinks and Whisp Drinks are new hard seltzer brands providing their costumes with high-quality drinks, made of natural ingredients packed in 100%  recyclable cans. Way to go!

More Ready To Drink in 2021

With socializing forced outside, 2020 also proved a boon for all manner of ready-to-drink (RTD) offerings, including the impressive selection of canned cocktails. We have canned old fashioneds, margaritas, negronis, and this list will be much bigger by the end of the year. Bartenders seeking to can their creations to sell at the bars, and most predict that the canned cocktail trend will continue strong. However, there’s a possibility that as the pandemic recedes and consumers will safely return to bars and clubs, canned cocktails may lose their glory.

More Canned Wine in 2021 

According to Nielsen, canned wine volume sales have grown in the UK since 2018, from £2.5m to £10.7m in 2020. Canned wine is a perfect suite to our pandemic time as it has recyclable packing, it is portable and provides Covid-safe single serves. Hence, canned wines look set to make even bigger splash this year. Can-wine brands are hitting the UK market. Take a look at London-based French  ‘Nice’ wine. They make delicious Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, and Rosé, served in cans, because they are convinced that “Wine in a can is now a thing”. And we can’t help but agree! 

More Small Alcohol Brands

During quarantine, many people were supporting their local spirits producers, and we predict that this tendency will be noticed in 2021 as well. Local brands are quality-focused, they contribute to the development of the environment they live in, and we think that in 2021 people will pay more attention to those new brands that appear on the market. Read our article Alcohol Industry Trends 2020: Why Small Spirit Brands are Getting Popular? to find out more about this trend. 

Drinks Delivery

Almost 70% of those who were ordering alcoholic beverages during Covid-19 restrictions, say they will keep on ordering drinks delivery in the future. Spirit makers are adapting themself to the new reality, providing their customers with fast and free right-to-your-door delivery. While this trend will certainly rely on changing liquor laws across the country, most consumers, operators, and manufacturers want to see the practice continue. We are expecting to see the delivery-friendly formats, such as ready-to-drink cocktails and other canned drinks, to grow. 

Consumers Will Become More Sophisticated and Well-Educated Drinkers 

Raise your hand if you were making cocktails at home during the lockdown. We also were shaking and stiring a lot for the last few months. Virtual cocktail classes took place of the weekly bar sessions, but we learned a lot. Now we know a little bit more about the mixology art and understand how the ingredients are married together delivering our wished-for tastes. We will come back to the bars with a deeper understanding of spirits, cocktails, and bars in general.

The rise of home bartending was huge in 2020, and we think that this tendency will gain momentum in 2021.  But the fact that we can mix Negroni and Long Island at home doesn’t mean that we won’t come to our favourite bar anymore, indeed, we will be happy to come there for the atmosphere and for social interaction that we miss so much. 

Drinks Companies Will Help To Deal With Global Problems

Sapling Spirits plants a tree every time you buy a bottle of their Sapling Vodka, Tarsier Spirits donate 10% of their profits to Asian environmental organizations, Fair Drinks support farmers in less developed countries paying them a fairtrade price for their labour.

Brands are involving their customers into good deeds, making it possible for every UK resident to plant a tree on the other continent or to donate to the local organizations by purchasing a bottle of a good spirit. We love this tendency and hope that in 2021 there will be more spirit brands that will help to deal with global environmental and economic issues. 

In many ways, 2021 will be a year when we finally get back to normal, most likely, to a new normal. All the habits and trends that developed in 2020, such as making cocktails at home, supporting local producers, and choosing healthy alternatives, will come into their own. Meanwhile, consumers will look for the experiences and options that they have missed during the pandemic restrictions. In 2021, people will want to finally breathe out and release their fears and worries – and the alcoholic beverage industry will be prepared to meet their needs. 

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