Innovation On Parade
Nearly 220 new wines and more than 320 new spirits products came onto the market in 2013, according to the New Product Tracker on Technomic’s DRINK online database. While fewer wine introductions occurred 2013 as compared to 2012 – when more than 300 wines debuted – the rate of spirits product roll-outs is on par with the prior year. The number of beer product introductions slowed significantly, going from more than 130 in 2012 to just over 80 new beers that reached beyond local distribution in 2013. [See graphic].
Granted, many of these new products are extensions of existing brands and labels, such as new selections to a flavored malt beverage brand family, varietal additions to a wine portfolio or aged expressions of a particular spirit. But “new” news is important to the drinks business. New products keep established brands fresh, generate excitement about a category with a new expression, increase occasion opportunities and expand the consumer franchise.
One-quarter of consumers (26%) turn to restaurants and bars to learn about what’s new in spirits, wine and beer, according to our BarTAB report, and three in 10 consumers say learning about and sampling different drinks is an important part of enjoying the experience of going out.
On-premise operators are challenged to keep up with myriad products coming to market and determine which are appropriate for their patrons and their business. The advent of hybrid products makes an already daunting task that much more complex, but also offer new opportunities to engage customers. Savvy operators track the trends by reviewing industry information, talking to their supplier and wholesaler partners, tasting, getting input from their front-line staff and, most importantly, listening to their consumers. Those operators know that among the hundreds of new products expected to roll out this year will be a few gems that will fill seats and make cash registers ring.