Luxury Trend Report

Alice Lascelles on the key drinks trends of 2022

With customer values changing, from fewer alcohol drinkers to a thirst for transparency and diversity, the drinks industry has been presented with a series of challenges, says Alice Lascelles, drinks columnist for the Financial Times. In this extract from the Walpole Luxury Trend Report, she looks at the shape of drinks to come.
8th Feb 2022
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Luxury Trend Report Alice Lascelles on the key drinks trends of 2022
These days, consumers are more curious, open-minded and less brand-loyal than ever. They might drink a Japanese whisky on Monday, a craft gin on Tuesday, new-wave non-alcohols on Wednesday and Thursday, before finishing the week off with a grower champagne. It’s all a bit of a challenge for traditional brands – but also an opportunity to attract different types of consumers, and tap into (or even create) different occasions.

In the world of wine, Burgundy and Bordeaux are seeing their pre-eminence challenged by Italy, Champagne and the New World. The people driving this are HNW individuals who, in many cases, weren’t born into a family with an account at Berry Bros. They love the icons – but you might equally find them drinking a secret-handshake natural wine with a cheese toastie at Sager + Wilde in east London.

Over and above this, luxury consumers are demanding more transparency, traceability and information. Pioneering innovations like the scannable Krug ID – which provides in-depth information on the vintage conditions, vinification and composition of each edition of the Grand Cuvée – are now widespread in champagne.

Elsewhere, whisky and cognac are increasingly speaking a language like wine. Terms like ‘single vineyard’, ‘vintage’ and ‘grand cru’ are now much more widespread at the top-end. Waterford, for example, is a new Irish whisky company that distils single-origin single malts from barley grown on different plots around Ireland, in a bid to prove whisky can have as much terroir variation as wine.

High-end rum producers, meanwhile, are targeting those same whisky aficionados with limited-edition releases: single-cask, vintage, cask-strength and indeed different cask types. The Exceptional Cask Selection from Foursquare in Barbados is particularly outstanding. While independent bottlings – a rarefied category of collectables common in whisky – are also becoming more sought-after in rum.

Read Alice's key drinks industry predictions for 2022 in the  Walpole Luxury Trend Report below.

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