Alcohol Beverage Market Trends 2024-2025

by | Jul 1, 2024 | News

New licenses hitting the alcohol market, updated regulation, and a change in trends like never before.  We’re talking about the hottest trends in the alcohol beverage market for 2024 going into 2025. Let’s dive right in!

2024 has been an exciting year for the alcohol industry. We’re seeing incredible changes and innovations that are redefining what we drink and how we drink it.

Exotic Flavored Liquors in the Spotlight

First up, beer is taking a backseat as exotic flavored liquors take the spotlight. Sales of exotic flavored liquors have increased by 25% in the past year, driven largely by Millennials and genZ’ers who crave authenticity and new tastes. We are seeing importation and interest from countries that were not as popular in years past.

Distinct flavors of drinks like Colombian aguardiente, Japanese Soju, and traditional Korean liquors are having a moment.

Here at home, in the United States, distilleries are embracing flavor understanding that flavors pique consumer interest, which in turn generates sales.

One distillery, Ole smoky, notes that in 2023 they released a pink Lemonade Moonshine, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Moonshine and a Banana Whiskey that brought them wild success.

And it’s not just about where the liquor comes from but also how it’s flavored. Big brands are now adding flavors like coffee, bitter herbs, and even tea to their spirits.

Industry giant Bacardi says it expects to see an uptick in tea-focused ingredients in 2024 going into 2025. Bacardi conducted a Survey which indicated a growing interest in tea from about a third, or thirty two percent of all respondents.

This flavor innovation is driven by a new wave of consumers who are always on the lookout for something different. In fact, flavored liquors saw a thirty percent increase in market share over the past two years.

Brands like Smirnoff and Crown Royal have reported significant boosts in sales due to their new flavored lines. The rise of these flavored liquors reflects a broader trend in the market where consumers are moving away from traditional drinks and exploring other options.

The Rise of Top Shelf Spirits like Whiskey

Speaking of high demand, fine and top-shelf liquors are more popular than ever. Whiskey, in particular, is seeing a huge boom.

New York’s legislation more specifically section 99G of the alcoholic beverage control law for example, allows the purchase of wine and hard liquor from private collectors for resale. As a result, New York Liquor Stores are dedicating entire sections to top shelf collector products. Even offering tastings to drive traffic.

This is a testament to this growing trend. People are willing to spend more for quality and exclusivity. Premium spirits saw a 40% increase in sales last year. This was driven by consumer desire for unique, high-quality products.

Additionally, the average price of top-shelf liquors has risen by 15% as demand continues to outstrip supply. Think about that, even with the events of 2020, we are seeing major price increases in certain categories.

Evolving Packaging for Alcohol Beverages

Packaging is also evolving. Ready-to-Drink, or RTD, cocktails in slim cans are now all the rage. They’re convenient and trendy, perfect for the on-the-go lifestyle.

RTDs resonate particularly well with women, Millennials, and Gen Z, who appreciate the convenience and variety these drinks offer. Sales of RTD cocktails have grown by 50% over the past year, with slim cans accounting for sixty percent of that growth.

And get this, wine is now being packaged in kegs! This not only reduces waste but also keeps the wine fresher for longer. The use of wine kegs has doubled in the past year, with many restaurants and bars adopting this eco-friendly option.

Restaurants Re-Imagined

Restaurants are catching on too. Curated liquor menus are becoming the norm, featuring specialty drinks that highlight regional flavors. Imagine sipping on a Tennessee whiskey right here in New York! This trend is driven by a desire to offer unique dining experiences. A lot of our seasoned restauranteur clients, are opting for opening high end establishments, and to succeed, they are incorporating these regional specialties to enhance the dining experience.

This approach is working. It is attracting more customers. Over 70% of upscale restaurants now feature regional specialties on their drink menus, reflecting this growing trend.

Now, let’s talk regional developments.

New Jersey Liquor License Boom

New Jersey is emerging as a major player due to its proximity to New York. With new licensing laws making it easier to open liquor stores, it’s a hot spot for new businesses. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation in January of twenty-twenty four which is overhauling New Jersey liquor laws for the first time since prohibition.

This is a golden opportunity for those looking to enter the market without the high costs of New York. The new regulations are designed to increase the number of available licenses and make it easier for new businesses to get started. This is expected to boost economic activity and create new opportunities for small business owners.

The number of liquor licenses issued in the State is projected to increase by 20% over the next year, making New Jersey a prime location.

New Jersey’s liquor licensing history is fascinating. They work on a sort of lottery system where the number of available licenses is directly correlated to an area’s population.  They have had a decades long problem of a scarcity in available licenses. This was causing costs to skyrocket, making it too expensive to enter the industry. Typically, liquor licenses were held onto as investments. State Senator Gordon Johnson put it best when he said that “for too long unused licenses were being held hostage and ultimately harming new jersey downtowns”.

But new regulations are changing the game. The 2024 reforms aim to boost the number of active licenses, making it easier for new businesses to thrive. The reforms include measures to address the issue of inactive licenses and introduce new types of licenses, such as those for farm breweries and shopping malls.

Interestingly, here is what prompted this change – New Jersey has seen a significant boost in tourism thanks to traffic that local breweries, distilleries, and wineries were driving into the State. Inactive licenses, or “pocket licenses,” must now be activated within two years, or they will be forfeited, adding over 1,300 licenses back into circulation. As a result, these changes are expected to significantly increase the number of available licenses and lower the barriers to entry for new businesses.

To wrap it up, the rest of 2024 and 2025 is set to be a revolutionary year for the alcohol industry.

From exotic flavors and innovative packaging to regional developments and regulatory changes, there’s so much to look forward to.

Cheers to new beginnings and exciting trends!

Alcohol Consulting and Licensing

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