We love a good cocktail and enjoy working with large brands as well as craft. So last month took us to Pittsburgh for the American Craft Spirits Association convention where we not only had the opportunity to enjoy our first Primanti's sandwich (fries are tucked inside the sandwich) but we also picked up a tip or two on the category from IWSR and marketing strategies from various speakers.

A few of our favorite finds:  

The Landscape: 

  • Tennessee whiskey and flavored bourbon are driving the whiskey boom.
  • Cognac is growing thanks to the overall interest in brown spirits. 
  • There's cross category convergence from wine flavored cider to canned cocktails. 
  • Low and no alcohol products are surging. Weight Watchers even got in the game with a low-cal wine called Cense. 
  • Healthy mixers are on the rise from green juice to coconut water and even "Zero Proof" sections on cocktail menus (formerly known as mocktails). 
  • The Tequila category is predicted to surpass rum by 2022 and flavored tequilas continue to grow. 
  • Strong flavors dominate from smoky mezcal to spicy ginger beer and bitter coffee flavors. 
  • Distribution is changing. It's no longer just on-premise or off-premise. Now there's e-premise, product-premise (tasting rooms) and new-premise (non-traditional pop-ups and events). 
  • On-premise is forecasted to lose another 1.4% points next year. 
  • There's a DIY culture when it comes to cocktails and a rise of the home bar. 
  • Wine has become more accessible - take it camping or have it while you watch Netflix. 
  • Beer is declining yet Modelo and Michelob Ultra are seeing nice growth.

Marketing Tips: 

  • Want to reach millennials? Make sure your communication is one of openness that allows them to express freedom. Have a "you do you" attitude. 
  • As a brand you need to think about convenience and creating an experience. 
  • Remember that anyone who walks through your tasting room is a content producer. Create a social experience for them. 

What trends or tips are you seeing in craft spirits these days? Comment below and join in on the conversation!