Following the success of craft beer over the past few decades, the spirits industry is starting to take hold of the craft movement. Indeed, there is a shift happening in consumer preferences, away from mass-produced brands and towards spirits made with craftsmanship.
There are numerous opportunities within the craft spirits market and this has brought about innovation themes such as the incorporation of innovative and/or medicinal ingredients. However, there are also challenges that distillers must address to be successful. The definition of "craft" is blurred as multinationals can legally use the claim, even when they do not fit the 'official' craft definition. The spirits industry is also dominated by larger brands, making it difficult for small distilleries to gain retail recognition. From these challenges, innovation opportunities are drawn, including the use of events and/or technology to emphasize craftsmanship.
Global consumers associate "craft" with high-quality ingredients that are handmade and authentic. Craft/artisanal claims and production are a way to premiumize spirits offerings, featuring within the top 10 factors that would encourage spirit drinkers to pay more. While just 15% of spirits drinkers say that craft/artisanal production would encourage them to pay more, there is an opportunity to associate and combine this approach with other "premiumization" factors including unique taste, better taste, food pairing, and even "natural" ingredients to enhance the premium nature of the product offering and justify a higher price point.
Authentic experiences are in demand and more consumers are looking to experiment with innovative and quirky flavored spirits. This has led a number of distillers to increase their craft offerings to gain an early foothold in this emerging market.
North America not being the largest spirits market in the world, but the US is home to the biggest crafts spirits market - craft still only accounts for a very small proportion of the US spirits industry but the market is gaining momentum. Indeed, the majority of craft spirit launches are in the US, where 1,315 craft distillers are currently active. Whiskey accounts for 37% of all craft spirit labels, followed by gin (13%), vodka (12%), and rum (10%). Given craft's modest growth, distillers could start to venture into the market as a means of breaking into the established spirit market.
According to Matthew Perry, Analyst - Asia also presents a huge opportunity for craft spirits if they can break into the market. Unfortunately for craft distillers, the vast majority of spirit consumption derives from specialty spirits such as saké and shochu. Distilleries are creating Asian-inspired craft spirits in an attempt to gain a foothold in this relatively untapped market.
Opportunities in Craft Spirits research report focuses on outlining consumer insights and innovation themes for the crafts spirits industry. Key consumer insights include consumers becoming more experimental. Consumers are also confused about the "craft" term definition. From this, innovation opportunities are drawn, including the incorporation of innovative and/or medicinal ingredients and the use of events and/or technology to emphasize craftsmanship.
2. Consumer attitudes
3. Innovation opportunities
4. Key take-outs
5. What next?
- Big Bottom Distilling
- Bull Run Distilling
- Chase Distillery
- Del Maguey Single Village
- Indio Spirits and Distillery
- Pernod Ricard/Absolut
- Rogue Ales and Spirits