The Coronavirus pandemic is without doubt one of the most life changing events we will witness in our lifetime. Most industries have been left fighting for survival, with the drinks and hospitality industry among some of the hardest hit. Historically, the beverage business was the most recession resilient across all industries. However, we are living in unprecedented times where companies and careers have paused overnight. The change we are witnessing has reshaped our everyday lives and will significantly impact how we live our lives in the future.
Change is coming
The global hospitality industry continues to be dramatically affected by the Coronavirus with no clear end in sight. The need for businesses to adapt and overcome challenges in this new landscape is essential. Top tier drinks brands have introduced different flavour trends and created new styles of serves to help drive growth. Several cream liquor brands including Mozart are enticing consumers with innovative ways to consume the drink in deserts, ice creams and coffee. The drinks industry will also look to follow suit from other industries with the introduction of automation helping to build back consumer trust. In a bid to safeguard employees and consumers, table ordering kiosks with self-checkouts have been created, alongside mobile ordering apps for grab and go options. There is even a bionic bartender, although it’s unlikely to be replacing the human equivalent anytime soon.
The best, bar none
It’s safe to say the bar industry is far from business as normal, with companies around the world looking at creative ways of clawing back revenue. Many bars and restaurants have turned to takeaway and delivery options to keep afloat, although reports of revenue are just 60% of normal takings. In the US, Californian liquor laws have changed to support the industry, allowing cocktail delivery and ‘alcohol to go’. Here in the UK, Tequila specialist Casamigos unveiled delivery ‘within the hour’ to Londoners. Also, bars up and down the country are offering pick-up and delivery services, bottling classic drinks to enjoy at home. Over in Hong Kong, the high-profile bar Quinary has bucked the trend as one of the first bars to re-open during the pandemic. Although strict measures have been enforced such as temperature checks on arrival, use of face masks, limited group numbers and social distancing. This level of hygiene could be the new normal to ensure the safe re-opening of bars and restaurants Worldwide.
The new normal
Living without bars, pubs and restaurants has challenged our social lives, so people are finding new ways to socialise at home. The virtual world has become an anchor to keep connected with virtual parties, quizzes and even wine and beer tasting apps. This has led to a surge in alcohol delivery, with online alcohol retailers seeing a huge spike in demand. There is no doubt that consumer confidence has been hit and will take a long time to return. In these times of uncertainty consumers are looking to trusted brands for their favourite tipple. Interestingly, social media engagement with alcoholic drinks brands has increased more than 300% since the outbreak. Although it seems we are not all responding in the same way. Social media campaigns such as ‘Dry Covid’ have emerged, pushing sales for low-alcoholic brands with an emphasis on wellbeing. These changes in shopping habits have forced companies to adapt quickly as the trend for home drinking continues.
We’re in this together
The drinks and hospitality industry will be among some of the last retailers to reopen, leaving many businesses hanging in the balance. There is little to no revenue coming in and many companies will face permanent closure. In a bid to support retailers, leading figures from the restaurant world are coming together to ask the government for a rent freeze with the campaign #NationalTimeOut.
Every industry across the world has been changed by Coronavirus, but it’s how we adapt to this change that will help breathe new life back into the drinks industry. As the world starts to recover, we face adapting to the ‘new normal’. Global Bartending will be here to support both brands and bartenders to help rebuild our incredible industry, making it stronger than ever before.