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Alcohol trends now shifting at a rate similar to other lifestyle categories

Published:  20 April, 2015

Alcohol trends are evolving at much more rapid rate than in the past and while they don't follow the fashion industry's seasonal six month cycles, the on-going shifts within the drinks categories are changing at a similar pace as other lifestyle industries, according to Euronmonitor International.

Spiros Malandrakis, senior alcoholic drinks analyst as Euromonitor said: "While trend cycles last longer than six months it is becoming an indisputable fact that drinking patterns evolve much faster and more frequently than they used to."

In looking at drinks trends it is critical to look at cultural nuances and recognise that the drinks trade is a lifestyle and luxury category, filled with lifestyle brands. He said: "Alcohol is first and foremost, a lifestyle industry. In other words, the drivers of change are aspirational and start with symbolism and the semiotics of style."

Malandrakis argued many of the current successful drinks trends are driven by consumers making fashion statements with the brands they drink and what serve they order. Thus, the rise in celebrity collaborations and joint ventures in the drinks trade, from David Beckham with Haig whiskey to Sean 'Diddy' Combs and Cîroc vodka.

"It is within that context that the relation between fashion and alcohol becomes clearer. From the 'Mad Men ' effect making old fashioned cocktails suitably fashionable once again to immaculate fashionistas sipping Aperol spritz shortly before it became ubiquitous, pop culture and the zeitgeist provide the cues for both industries' future directions, positioning and core message," said Malandrakis.

Malandrakis doesn't discount the importance of looking at economic trends and consumers' changing palates, he argues to just look at these factors is too simplistic and narrow and understanding other elements that influence trends to change within the category is important to consider.

He said: "The on-going shift from vodka to whiskeys - or the proliferation of bourbon within that whiskey stable in terms of current market dynamics- should hence not be analysed only through the simplistic perspective of flavour profiles or even macroeconomic developments."