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American alcohol revenues have been growing steadily for decades; and the most recent growth rate of 4% in the spirit sector is partly explained by Millennial consumption habits. According to a recent Nielson report, Millennials like to try “something new” and have a penchant for imbibing both microbrews and small batch wines and spirits. This is good news for alcohol-based startups looking to dip a toe into the market as well as smaller established brands offering green and health-oriented beverages.
Millennials are significantly more likely to be concerned with sustainable living than previous generations, and the most willing to pay for products and services with a social or environmental connection. They are also more health conscious. Brands that can speak authentically to the concerns that Millenials and many others have about how things are made, the impact of production on the environment and health, will stand out in the crowded marketplace.
For example, makers like Batiste Rhum that have been socially and ecologically conscious for years, are getting new attention as a “clean” alcohol brand that is both “Better For You, and Better for The Earth.” As CEO, Tristan Mermin, explained, “now when I am talking with buyers about our product, brand and process, I see their eyes light up. This is really different from a few years ago. The idea of a spirit that has a verifiable sustainable production from the ground up, and does not add the make it taste better chemicals and sugars that can be hard to digest (which can leave you feeling hung over in the morning) resonates with them.” The Batiste Rhum Ecoiste products are Eco Positive. This means the entire production uses renewable energy and there are carbon offsets that are greater than the carbon dioxide created per bottle. In addition, they utilize “100% Fresh Caribbean Island Grown Sugar Cane Juice” instead of molasses, a simpler and more sustainable source for rum making, and they do not use any plastic in their packaging.
Batiste is not alone. Many adult beverage companies with green cred are also appealing to the health crowds and/or those looking for a unique flavors. For example, Los Sundays Tequila, promotes the unique relationship they have with sustainable family farms, the “natural running volcanic river water” used in their distilling process, and points to the recycled mailers and 62% post-consumer-waste recycled boxes they pack and ship their products in. They also make a coconut tequila for sipping, which has been a hit and helped set them apart.
I recently wrote about the new “glycophosate-free certification” and tried SmartVine red wine, the “first certified glycophosate free wine in the world.” Like the coconut tequila mentioned earlier, SmartVine is appealing to those who seek something different by layering in lemon peel, turmeric, chicory root, and Muscadine grape seed. According to the company, all of these additives boost antioxidants, help reduce bloat and promote weight loss. Yes – you heard it – weight loss wine! Oh, and it’s vegan, Paleo friendly and Keto friendly! Most importantly — at least for me — it was genuinely tasty, albeit very “light.”
It is hard to resist these new wave of super products – better for everyone, better for the earth, and totally unique. Their multi-dimensional market positioning is smart. Consumers interested in one benefit are likely to appreciate the others, or at least not mind them. While they may not be intentionally targeting Millennials, by appealing to several concerns at once, these brands can find evangelists in many niche communities while appealing to the largest growing consumer segment.
So: what’s the take away? In a climate quickly being overrun with small producers, more is clearly more when it comes to promoting a product’s relationship to both healthy living and preserving the environment. Oh – and a dash of some exotic flavoring is not a bad idea either. Cheers!
December 17, 2018 at 01:38PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs