With the end of the year looming, we take a look back at how 2020 has treated the global drinks industry. Here are the ten most-read articles written by our spirits experts, led by category commentators Amy Hopkins and Richard Woodard, over the last 12 months.
More than ever, the spirits industry is obsessed with buzzwords. In his March outing for just-drinks, however, Richard Woodard suggested that terms like ‘provenance’ and ‘quality’ play a smaller part in the consumer’s decision-making process than we would believe.
While brewers have been racing to enter hard seltzer, spirits brand owners have been slower to jump in, with some preferring to push their existing offerings’ seltzer-related cues. Richard considered how successful they’ve been, so far.
If asked, Diageo would probably claim it owns a number of superheroes already – Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff spring to mind. Since August, the group has one more.
In April, with most of the world on lockdown, we explored how the spirits category could continue to support itself once the coronavirus pandemic eases.
The ready-to-drink category has emerged as the unlikely hero of the drinks world. Whisky – particularly Scotch – has been slow to capitalise on the trend, but a wealth of planned NPD could offer a lifeline for a segment that has famously struggled to connect with a younger audience.
The unveiling by Bacardi in July of its Plume and Petal brand backfired somewhat, with the group stirring up a social media storm with the lower-abv vodka. Richard Woodard thinks he may know what the problem was. Again.
As lockdown restrictions slowly started to ease in some markets in May, we considered how the post-COVID landscape was taking shape for spirits brand owners.
The coronavirus pandemic decimated the on-premise around the world this year, with lockdowns leading to zero sales and furloughed staff in the channel. Those pubs and bars that will still be around as lockdown eases, however, could see consumers’ stronger relationship with spirits provide a healthier – and sustainable – future.
The craft whisk(e)y industry spent 2020 trapped in a vice, with pressure from the coronavirus pandemic and retaliatory tariffs deepening the cracks that have existed for some time. In her just-drinks debut in June, Amy Hopkins forecast that the road to recovery would be long and hard, and only the strong would survive.
Virtue signalling is a very easy hole to fall down when it comes to marketing spirits brands – particularly with today’s hyper-connected consumer. In November, however, Richard Woodard claimed to have found an activation that skirts the hole and ticks all the 21st Century spirits brand boxes.