Alcohol and beverages

Courtesy of Southeastern Grocers

Note from the editor

Once relegated to the same staid products on the grocery or liquor store shelf, the alcohol and beverage space has undergone a radical change during the last decade a pivot accelerted in part by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Until the pandemic, most consumers largely ignored going online to purchase alcohol. Now, many people have woken up to the convenience of getting items delivered straight to their door. Ride share company Uber made a big bet in February that the trend will continue after it bought alcohol delivery startup Drizly for about $1.1 billion.

Shoppers who once drank the same beer, wines or spirits as their parents now have additional choices, too. 

The alcohol space in particular has been bombarded with scores of hard seltzer beverages that have provided alcohol giants like Molson Coors and AB InBev with a lucrative, and until recently, fast-growing product to offset the decline in their core beer business. Even Coca-Cola, the world's largest nonalcoholic beverage maker, has entered the space with its own offering.

Despite ongoing challenges in beer, craft remains an influential part of the beverage space even as the pandemic pushed volume sales down more than 9% in 2020, a much sharper decline than the 3% the industry faced as a whole.  

For an increasingly larger number of consumers, the beer buzz doesn't necessarily have to come from alcohol. Big beer manufacturers such as Boston Beer, Guinness and Heineken, along with smaller upstarts such as Athletic Brewing, have embraced brews with little or no alcohol. 

Consumers are looking past the stigma that dogged nonalcoholic beer a few decades ago as quality improves and trends play a bigger role in their eating and drinking habits. Other people have turned to nonalcoholic beers because they are reluctant to endure the harsh effects that come with imbibing if they plan to exercise or need to work the next day. 

In this report, you'll find stories that include:

  • The plan by Molson Coors' CEO to "fundamentally change" the beer maker.
  • Has the hard seltzer bubble popped? 
  • How Yuengling survived Prohibition, two World Wars and the pandemic
  • Why soda makers are wading into alcohol

These are just a few of the many issues impacting the alcohol and beverage sector. We hope you enjoy this deep dive into this current trend.

Christopher Doering Senior Reporter

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo wade into booze amid an uncertain future

• Published Oct. 14, 2021

Molson Coors' CEO has a bold plan to 'fundamentally change' the beer maker. But will it work?

As consumers turn to other beverages, Gavin Hattersley has moved into energy drinks, diet soda and tequila to revive his company's portfolio — all while combating outside challenges.

• Published June 15, 2021

Has the hard seltzer bubble popped? Analysts and beer makers say not so fast

Despite the abrupt warning by Truly maker Boston Beer in July that it overestimated demand, many predict further growth in the category and a few major players to eventually dominate.

• Published Aug. 16, 2021

Once thriving craft beer industry dealt crippling blow by coronavirus

With brewpubs and taprooms shuttered and consumers less willing to experiment, thousands of brewers could go out of business or experience major changes to their operations.

• Published May 19, 2020

Once mocked, nonalcoholic beer creates a buzz as traditional brew sales stagnate

New offerings from brands like Guinness and Budweiser are flooding the space as the segment, which pulls in nearly $200 million in sales, suddenly heats up.

• Published Nov. 12, 2020

Yuengling survived Prohibition and both World Wars. But can it beat the pandemic?

Despite challenges, the leaders of America's oldest brewery are leaning into its reputation as a "traditional" beer company, while pushing ahead on initiatives like a partnership with Molson Coors.

• Published Oct. 19, 2020

Latest trends driving the alcohol and beverages space

Once narrowed to the same staid products on the grocery or liquor store shelf, the alcohol and beverage space has undergone a radical change during the last decade. Trends in alcohol delivery, non-alcoholic spirits, and a the skyrocketing hard seltzer category is transforming the way manufacturers approach the market.

included in this trendline
  • Coca-Cola and PepsiCo wade into booze amid an uncertain future
  • Molson Coors' CEO has a bold plan to 'fundamentally change' the beer maker. But will it work?
  • Has the hard seltzer bubble popped?
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.