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5 trends that will dominate the SA drinks scene in 2020

Gin isn't going away and you can look forward to more health-driven non-alcoholic sips this year!

by: Michael Lebona | 11 Feb 2020
bartender making a cocktail

Curated, experiential and tailored experiences have been at the forefront of South Africa’s alcohol consumption trends in 2019. With brands driving loyalty, they’ve also increasingly used local nuances to connect more with their consumers in a bid to be more authentic. This year also saw an increased level of responsible drinking messaging – this is something that is going to continue well beyond the festive season and is to be expected from alcoholic beverage manufacturers. Here are five trends anticipated for 2020.

Gin to continue its winning streak

Gin has ridden the wave this year and will continue its dominance over other spirits because of its universal appeal. Consumers appreciate it because it can be served in many variations and is well-suited for the South African climate. We’re likely going to see this trend continuing for at least another two years, similar to the rise of vodka five years ago. 

With well over 300 gins in the South African market driven by local craft, affordable and premium/super-premium gins, this category will continue to drive growth for companies that have a strong portfolio and world-class execution.

The rise of premium

The premium rum trend will gain momentum in 2020, driven by the bar community. The champagne and cognac train will continue, too, with MCCs not left behind either. Lastly, premium beers and ciders will continue driving the ready-to-drink (RTD) market. Africa is a great climate for beer and RTDs and with most South Africans under financial pressure, international beers will continue to grow.

karo brandy from south africa

Innovation remains key

Innovation is key and will play a significant role through pack changes, brand extensions, new flavours and new exciting rituals that will provide new consumer experiences.

Health boom in non-alcoholic drinks 

South Africans, like their counterparts across the United States and Europe, have become very health conscious. There’s an increasing trend of 0% alcohol brands entering the market across beers and spirits. 

This can also be attributed to rising levels of awareness on the dangers of drinking and driving. The alcohol industry continues to drive awareness of alcohol abuse under the auspices of In late 2018, Pernod Ricard introduced its 1-4-1 initiative, encouraging the consumption of one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage.

Increasingly consumers are choosing brands that uphold sustainable business practices. Care of the environment, recyclable packaging and promoting fair practices amongst employees are boxes alcohol producers are expected to tick.

Alcohol in the media 

The liquor industry is a significant contributor to South Africa’s gross domestic product, creating a solid revenue stream through sin tax and VAT. With the advertising of alcohol still allowed, liquor companies will continue to spend millions on television commercials, out-of-home advertising like billboards; and sponsorships across sports, lifestyle, music and festivals. With the increase of ultra-high net worth individuals in South Africa, the purchase of rare spirits – in particular, whiskey – will also considerably rise as they look to enjoy their hard-earned wealth. 

Read more on: wine  |  spirits  |  cocktails  |  drinks

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