The Punchbowl Trends Blog

Marketing insights from the leading celebrations site for moms

Get Your Beverage Invited: 4 Cocktail Party Trends That Brands Should Know

February 19, 2014 · in Trends

cocktail party beverages

Beer, wine, and spirits are an estimated $197 billion industry –  a captive audience when it comes to cocktail parties. The at-home soiree will never go out of style, with party hosts constantly on the lookout for the latest cocktail trend. Brands must remember who is planning these parties. In most cases it’s women, particularly moms, who begin to plan parties an average of 4-6 weeks ahead of the event.

Party hosts want the best for their social gatherings – alcoholic beverages included.  Beverage brands must offer products that are on hosts’ “must-have” lists to see a rise in sales. This is especially important when you consider that party hosts spend around 20% of their budget on alcohol.

These 4 cocktail party trends should be on beverage marketers’ radar:

  • Seasonal cocktails: Beverage brands should be diligent about their focus on seasonal marketing. With holidays and the change in seasons, corresponding cocktail trends emerge. The seasonal cocktail is an irresistible way for party hosts to enhance their beverage menu. From a Cinnamon and Spice cocktail in the Fall to a red, white and blue cocktail for the Fourth of July, seasonal cocktails are always a hit. Call out these creative recipes through great content marketing to capture party hosts’ attention. Unique, brand-specific recipes are effective, especially when incorporated into existing seasonal marketing campaigns.
  • Signature cocktails: These personalized concoctions aren’t just for weddings.  A signature cocktail is a memorable way for party hosts to customize their gathering. It can tie into an overall party theme or the specific occasion.  Party hosts might serve vodka-based cocktails in honor of the Sochi Olympics, or offer pink or blue signature cocktails as a fun addition to a baby shower. Beverage brands can help hosts personalize their party by offering unique recipes or positioning their liquor as a key ingredient.
  • Wine pairings: Wine consumption in the U.S. has seen a steady increase over the past two decades. A recent article points out how this is likely due to the coming of age of the baby boomer generation – who have the highest net worth and income of any other recent generation. Nothing makes a cocktail party feel more sophisticated than a wine pairing. Hosts can offer wines paired with complementary appetizers to give guests an enhanced experience. Wine brands can offer useful content such as pairing suggestions and recipe ideas, as seen on La Crema’s website.
  • The cider craze: Craft beer opened the door for the next trend – cider. With a number of options ranging from crisp to sweet, ciders appeal to a large audience and fit in well with cocktail parties. Instead of offering the expected bottled beer, party hosts can include cider alongside wines and mixed cocktails. More beer brands have launched ciders this past year. One notable introduction was from Anheuser-Busch InBev, who brought their Stella Artois Cidre to a national level. Sales of hard cider have been impressive, reaching $172 million last year, compared to only $35 million in 2009.

When you consider that cocktail parties and other celebrations offer a $38 billion window of opportunity for beverage brands, it’s clear that these brands must zero in on emerging trends. Party hosts are an engaged audience that brand marketers must tap into. For more insight into how beer, wine, and spirits play into the celebrations industry, download our free white paper.


Posted by Amie Reardon

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