PR Industry Trends

2016 Booze Trends: What we love, hate and can’t wait to start

Each January is jam-packed with trend analyses and predictions, and the alcohol beverage world is no exception. Here, instead of restating what was or professing to know what will be, our team of beverage marketing experts and craft beer fans shares its hopes and dreams for the good, the bad and the not-yet-developed trends.

#1: Wine Industry Trends 

Katie Myers

What trend do you hope to see continue?

Drink Pink! 

Rosé wines continue to be popular, and for good reasons: They are refreshing, pair well with foods, and are appropriate for any season and practically any occasion. Rioja, our Spanish wine client, has seen a 30 percent increase in U.S. imports of Rioja Rosados year-over-year. I expect more events like La Nuit en Rosé celebrating this wine style in 2016.

What trend do you hope to see fade?


I’ve never been a big fan of the 100-point-scale that’s so common in our business. Wine is subjective, as are the palates and preferences of the people who drink it.

What trend do you hope to see start?

Wine and Music Pairings

Context matters. Music and wine each enhance their surroundings and together, they can pack

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Serving up Seasonal Libations – Q4 Marketing Trends in the Beverage Industry

Thanksgiving has barely arrived, yet it seems everyone’s palate is already preparing for the December holiday season. In this time of harvest, you might think pumpkin spice would still reign supreme over all other flavors. But while it seems like only yesterday we were discussing the popularity of pumpkin-flavored everything, consumer demand is driving a push for holiday-flavored beverages. Also known as “winter warmers,” marketing professionals are realizing what an unstoppable force these seasonal flavors can be. With annual seasonal offerings from Summer Shandy’s to Oktoberfest craft brews, let’s take a look at why “winter warmers” are quickly becoming the most popular flavors of the seasonal beverage category.

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Fun & Flavorful Varieties

Seasonal selections have actually been around way longer than you may think.  In a world of powerfully marketed megabreweries, you may be surprised to learn the tradition of crafting a limited-edition seasonal flavor actually dates back thousands of years. It was during a time when small brewers would craft small batches, usually spiked with familiar flavors of the holiday season, to gift to their friends and customers. Wikipedia cites the ancient Saturnalia Festival as the origin

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Football, Turkey & Craft Beer: The Ultimate Thanksgiving Pairing Guide



You know it, and I know it: Thanksgiving is awesome. The day is all about bonding: with family, with traditions, with food, with conversation, with sports, with fall and with booze. My family has a tradition we like to call “Ye Ol’ Turkey Fry Tailgate, Just like the Pilgrims.” We sit outside around the turkey fryer, talking, laughing, watching football games and drinking beer, wine or Shirley Temples. JUST LIKE THE PILGRIMS! Okay, maybe not, but the concept is the same…connecting, communicating, BE-ing. And while drinking alcohol and watching football were not in the cards of the Pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving Day, it has become a part of our American tradition (lucky for us) and of course, the feast was, and is, the highlight of this wonderful day. So what better way to celebrate these traditions? As an experienced beer drinker, eater and sports fan, I say let’s pair them up! Football. Food. Beer. Ultimate. Thanksgiving. Day.


Fall1Game #1: Appetizer Pre-Game

According to the NFL, an average 28.4 million viewers watch football on Thanksgiving Day. And we all know


Disrupting the Digital Wine Communications Community


Two weeks ago, I was one of six speakers recruited to Plovdiv, Bulgaria to inspire and to challenge how Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) participants see the world.

The goal of the DWCC’s Disrupt! Wine Talks is to present new ideas in a high-energy format: one word, one speaker with a microphone and eight minutes. The sessions are a variation on the Ignite format, in which each slide is displayed for 20 seconds, and slides automatically advance, whether the presenter is ready or not.

To make things even more challenging, all six speakers were given the same word, “BLEND” (the conference theme) from which to build an inspirational talk from their perspective or area of expertise.

Our task was to change people’s thinking. We were asked to push our captive audience to look at things from a new angle – to leave them asking questions, challenging assumptions and inspiring new ideas.

One speaker, Richard Heming, MW, encouraged the wine community to “lighten up” and blend wine with humor. Simon Woolf shouted that “blending in is for losers!” and dared attendees to buck the norm. My call to action…

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The Buzz on Beer Growth

Football season is upon us and I am inevitably thinking about beer.  Beer & football go together like peanut butter & jelly, like Cheech & Chong.  Football means big business for beer brands, and PR professionals should have brews on their minds as well. Take advantage of halftime to “tap” into these three beer trends that have the marketplace buzzing this season.


Craft Beer Finds Its Footing

Craft beer consumption is on the rise.  More and more often, we are seeing Americans opt out of Megabrews in favor of local or domestic craft brews. According to Beverage Information & Insights Group, domestic craft beer sales were up over 15% in 2014, despite that fact that overall beer volume sales actually fell half of a percent from 2013 to 2014. When we’re talking about 2.8 billion cases of beer sold in the US last year, half of a percent accounts for way more beer than you might think. Megabreweries are noticing this shift in consumer purchases. In response to dropping market share, Anheuser Busch (AB InBev) recently announced a deal to acquire MillerCoors for over $104 billion dollars. If

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The Force Awakens: 7 Wine Pairings for the Star Wars Series

This year’s wine harvest has ended early. Though it’s estimated the 2015 harvest came in at approximately 3.8 million tons compared to 3.9 million tons last year, one winery isn’t worried about the smaller harvest.

To celebrate the end of the harvest season, Jordan Winery in Sonoma created a fun parody of the upcoming December 18 release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The spoof Cab Wars: The Force of Harvest Awakens, is a hilarious take on harvest season.


As homage for the newest Star Wars film, here are seven wines to pair with the epic series.

1. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Love him or hate him, Jar Jar Binks may have been a clumsy outcast, but he had the best intentions to serve. That’s why the semi-sweet, bold and fruity flavor of Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz pairs well for the beginning of the Star Wars saga.



2. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

The galaxy may have been on the brink of civil war, but there was still room for Anakin Skywalker and

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5 Beer Cocktails in Honor of the Biggest Beer Deal Ever

The world beer market just got a little smaller. Yesterday, the two largest brewers in the world – SABMiller and AB InBev – agreed on a merger worth $104.2 billion. The beers that this deal will bring under the same roof make an impressive list: Bud, Bud Light, Corona, Michelob, Stella Artois, Becks, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Coors, Coors Light, Grolsch, Icehouse, Keystone, Milwaukee’s Best, Blue Moon, Foster’s, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni, Miller Lite and Miller High Life. And that’s not even all of them.

Reactions are still pouring in: Some predict that this deal will hurt craft brewers, while others see steady opportunities for the craft community despite this epic shift in power. It’s unarguably the biggest news the beer industry’s seen in a long time.

In honor of the historic deal, here are five beer cocktails to sip on featuring signature brands of the merging giants:

1. Sparkling Pumpkin Cider Beer-Tail

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale and sparkling apple cider make this a great beer cocktail for fall gatherings. Place a cinnamon stick in a mason jar; then pour beer until the glass is three quarters full. Top off with cider and a quick squeeze of a lemon. 

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The Casual Approach to Millennial Marketing

While I don’t have actual proof, it seems that market researchers have spent more time understanding Millennials – in particular their dining and drinking habits – than any other generation in the past few years. The latest fruit of their labor is an interesting dining model backed by fast food chains and beverage alcohol brands: Fast Casual restaurants (think Chipotle and Fatburger) serving booze. If research is right, a Crunch Wrap Supreme with a Margarita on the side or a Venti glass of wine could be what it takes to get more Millennials in the door. Representing 25 percent of the U.S. population, Millennials mean big business.

Big Players

The concept isn’t new, but it’s catching on like wildfire right now. Taco Bell just joined the club with its first “Taco Bell Cantina,” serving booze next to tacos in Chicago. Diners can expect a slightly nicer brick-and-mortar location with shareable appetizers, wine, beer and frozen cocktails. A place you’d actually want to eat in – which is the whole point – instead of opting for the drive-through. “Alcohol is a way fast casual restaurants can say ‘we are a

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In Search Of a New Fall Flavor, I Failed

Ask anyone what makes a crowd-pleasing commercial, and you’ll get two answers: Puppies and babies. In beverage PR, babies are taboo, and puppies are almost synonymous with Budweiser’s Super Bowl ads. Many brands therefore jump on a seasonal flavor trend and ride the popularity wave for said “it” ingredient until the next season comes knocking on their door.

No Pumpkin Backlash in Sight

Since today marks the first day of fall, my curiosity in emerging seasonal flavors is at its peak. Sadly, those flavors must be late to the party, because what I came across in my research is pure “Pumpkinsanity.” Each year, every year, pumpkin (spice) seems to take home the people’s choice award for the most popular fall flavor and dominates the beer aisle of the grocery store. 2015 is no different. According to food industry tracker Mintel, use of pumpkin as an ingredient in beverages alone has grown 130 percent since 2006. Last year, almost four in ten Americans bought a pumpkin-flavored product. Only pie filling was more popular than beer in that flavor category (see infographic). Breweries like Blue Moon are taking note, and are releasing…

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Not Your Father’s Root Beer – Growth Strategies for Small Brands

an adult root beer float

One of the most popular products to hit the beverage industry in recent history came in the form of Not Your Father’s Root Beer (NYFRB). This beer-slash-soda brand has taken the market by storm, as it represents one of the newest trends in alcohol, “malternatives” aka alternative malt beverages (usually artificially flavored). Social media has been in a tizzy as consumers frantically search for it on the shelves of their local retailers. The consumer is truly engaged with the product and shares updates about where to find it and what it taste likes.   Instagram feeds flooded with photos of the bottles with captions such as “YES! Finally, was able to get my hands on some. Now to see if the hype is true” and “I tried it and like it! #NotYourFathersRootbeer.” One NJ liquor store posted: “Not Your Father’s Root Beer is back in stock. Limit one six-pack per person. Don’t wait it will be gone in a day or two.”

But why has this brand been so successful and what can we learn from their product launch? Not Your Father’s Root Beer…