Posted on: January 4, 2024

New Year, New Trends

From the latest social networks to the clothes we wear, there’s always a new trend to follow. The beverage industry is no exception! So, what trends can we expect from the alcohol industry in 2024? From the increasing popularity of craft distilleries to more nonalcoholic options, here's what we can expect to change in the new year.

Craft Distilleries Are Coming to a Market Near You

From 2011 to 2021, the number of craft distilleries in the US increased five-fold. It's not slowing down, either – the number grew by 17.4% in 2022.

Craft spirits still only make up 7% of total sales value, but that's expected to double by 2025.

So far, craft distilleries largely live in just ten states. The top five states make up almost a third of the market, and the next five are around half as much. The other forty states comprise an average of just 1.2% a piece.

That leaves a lot of room for growth as the trend spreads to untapped territory.

Look for More Diversity in Craft Spirits

Craft spirits aren't just forecast to become more numerous – they're also predicted to become more diverse.

Right now, whiskey represents 36% of craft spirits. That category certainly isn't going anywhere, but distillers are experimenting with flavored whiskey.

However, craft gin, rum, and tequila are all projected to grow in the coming years. Craft gin is forecast for 23% growth by 2025. Craft rum is projected for 12% growth, even though overall rum sales will likely shrink.

And as tequila continues to experience supply challenges, industry experts see an opportunity for craft distilleries to fill the gap with agave-based spirits.

More Low-Alcohol / No-Alcohol Options

Consumer demand is projected for a 7% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2026.

A Gallup poll from 2022 reported that 36% of US adults say they don't consume alcoholic beverages, and beverage producers are looking for opportunities to target that market. This allows alcohol producers to recruit customers away from beverage categories like soda and water.

Additionally, research has shown that it's common for consumers to switch between regular alcoholic beverages and no-alcohol or low-alcohol products – depending on the survey, somewhere between 40% and 78% of no/low product consumers say that they also drink full-strength alcohol. Some adults prefer to abstain on certain occasions and consume alcohol on others, and no/low products are also helpful for those trying to regulate their alcohol intake per night.

Millennials make up 43% of US no/low consumers, but these products are also surprisingly popular among drinking age Gen Z.

No-alcohol products tend to be more popular among people who abstain from alcohol altogether, while drinkers tend to go for low-alcohol substitutes.

Responsible Alcohol Server Training Remains in Style

While it's important for a bar or restaurant's bottom line to keep up with consumer trends like craft gin and no/low-alcohol alternatives, there are some things that never go out of style.

Public safety restrictions around alcohol, like restricting sales to minors or intoxicated persons, will continue to be a liability issue for years to come.

Whether or not responsible alcohol server training is legally mandatory where you are, it remains an excellent investment in protecting your business. TIPS courses, whether online or in person, arm your servers and managers with the skills they need to prevent illegal sales, promote responsible alcohol consumption, and protect your business from penalties and lawsuits.

Enroll your staff today!