Brands Increasingly Drive Adult Beverage Orders

When I think of beer, I think of 312 and Yuengling, and when I think of rum, I think of Captain Morgan. These are the brands that I order when dining out. Brands are synonymous with our favorite alcohol drinks, no matter what our particular preferences are.

Recent research from Technomic’s Trends in Adult Beverage (TAB) report series shows that not only are brands important when choosing a specific adult beverage, but they are increasingly becoming more important to consumers.

The exhibit below shows the importance of brands in the beer and wine purchase decision. For both beer and wine, brand names are more important now than in 2013. Also, the brand of beer is more important than the brand of wine, as people tend to associate wine more with the varietal than with the brand.


Base: Approximately 1,125 (beer) and 950 (wine) consumers aged
21+ who drink beer or wine away from home at least once a month in 2013/2015

In contrast to beer and wine, spirit brands aren’t typically included in menu descriptions for mixed drinks or cocktails. However, our research shows that 52% of those who order mixed drinks or cocktails away from home ask for a particular brand of alcohol most times they order these beverages.

The importance of spirit brands ranks second, after beer. Three in five of today’s consumers (59%), up from 56% in 2013, consider it important that operators list the brand of spirit used in a mixed drink or cocktail in the menu description.

So, what is driving this increase? First, today’s consumers demand transparency. They want to know what it is in their food and beverages—information they can look up if they know the brand. Also, consumers, especially those on the younger side, are increasingly willing to try new beverages and as such are learning more about beer, wine and spirit brands than in years past. In addition, there has been a recent craft beer revolution, and numerous breweries have emerged as a result. Because new craft beers are often promoted in the press, consumers are responding by wanting to learn more about their labels.

While this is good news for adult beverage brands, it points to heightened competition for customer dollars. Brands should aim not only to make sure consumers are aware of a brand, but what the brand stands for and what makes it unique.


Anne Mills

Anne Mills is a Consumer Research Manager at Technomic Inc. She works on the firm’s Consumer Trend Reports, a series of more than 25 annual studies that keep U.S., Canadian and U.K. foodservice professionals up to date on the evolving menu and consumer trends in key foodservice areas including: food and beverage categories, restaurant sectors, dining occasions, consumer segments and more.

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