Is alcohol trending down?

Answered by Charles Pate

As an expert sommelier and brewer, I have observed the trends in the industry and it is evident that there has been a shift in consumer preferences in recent years. While it is true that overall alcohol volumes are forecasted to grow at a moderate rate of 2% CAGR from 2022 to 2027, it is important to note that this growth is a result of the category, while continues to decline.

The spirits category, which includes products like , , and , has experienced rapid growth in previous years with a volume CAGR of 4% from 2019 to 2021. However, this growth is expected to moderate in the coming years. This can be attributed to a saturation point in the market, where consumers are becoming more discerning and selective in their choices. They are exploring different flavor profiles, seeking out craft spirits, and looking for unique experiences.

On the other hand, beer has seen a decline in volumes, with a 3% decrease in 2022. This decline can be attributed to various factors. Firstly, there has been a shift in consumer preferences towards healthier alternatives, such as low-alcohol or options. This trend is driven by a growing focus on wellness and a desire to lead a more balanced . Additionally, the rise of and the increasing popularity of imported beers have impacted the mainstream beer market. Consumers are seeking out more unique and flavorful options, which often come from smaller, independent breweries.

It is worth mentioning that imports from Mexico have seen an uptick, indicating a growing demand for Mexican beers. This can be attributed to the rising popularity of Mexican cuisine and the cultural influence of Mexican traditions and festivals. Consumers are intrigued by the vibrant flavors and styles of Mexican beers, such as lagers and Mexican craft beers, which offer a refreshing change from the traditional beer options.

In my personal experience, I have witnessed the impact of these trends in the alcohol industry. As a sommelier, I have seen a growing interest in craft spirits, with consumers eager to explore unique flavor profiles and support local distilleries. This has led to an increase in the availability and variety of spirits in the market, catering to different tastes and preferences.

Similarly, as a brewer, I have observed the decline in beer volumes and the shift towards healthier alternatives. This has prompted breweries to experiment with low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beer options, catering to the changing consumer demands. Additionally, the rise of craft beer has created opportunities for smaller breweries to thrive and offer consumers a wider range of beer styles and flavors.

While alcohol volumes are forecasted to grow at a moderate rate, it is clear that the industry is experiencing a shift in consumer preferences. The spirits category continues to show growth, albeit at a slower pace, while beer volumes decline. This is driven by factors such as consumer preferences for unique and flavorful options, a focus on wellness and healthier alternatives, and the cultural influences shaping the alcohol landscape.