Compiled by Meredith Ash

From the introduction of CBD-infused drinks, the continuing demand for sustainability and transparency, as well as drinks that are good for your digestive health – we take a look at what we’ll be sipping on this year.

Low and no

The trend of low and no boomed in 2018 with the launch of non-alcohol spirits and an expansion in the ‘adult soft drinks industry’ – the fastest growing category in the drinks market. In fact, over 30 non-alcoholic spirits were launched during a three-month period last year alone, hinting that the zero-proof trend is still in its infancy. This growth, and the subsequent launch of exciting mixer products designed to partner spirits, such as new offerings from The London Essence Company, was fuelled by a significant increase in alcohol-free social moments such as Sober October and Dry January – with over 4 million Brits taking part this year alone. As consumers become more concerned about the negative effects of over consumption of alcohol, and as brands continue to deliver more exciting alcohol-free offerings, the trend of low and no is set to stay.


Although not necessarily new to the drinks industry, CBD (cannabidiol) is set to become a significant functional ingredient in 2019 with giants such as Coca Cola in talks with Canadian cannabis providers. As we move into a more health conscious age, consumers are demanding drinks that serve some sort of health benefit. A report by the World Health Organization last year revealed CBD helps aid pain, control seizures and reduce anxiety so the introduction of this into mainstream markets makes it an interesting area to watch.

Good for your gut

This year the market is set to welcome drinks that are good for your insides. Digestive health has become a much more widely discussed topic in recent years and the drinks industry can benefit. Kombucha, a fermented probiotic tea is set to lead the way with kefir and kimchi following closely behind. Whether enjoyed alone as an alcohol alternative with brands such as Captain, or as an ingredient in a cocktail, these live cultures will keep your immune system happy.

Sustainability and transparency

There’s no doubt about it, sustainability has been one of the most talked about topics worldwide in 2018. Above and beyond brands continuing to reduce their plastic produce and packaging, brands will look to consider using ingredients that are sustainably grown or harvested, as well as more eco-friendly methods for production, to minimise their carbon footprint. Brands such as Absolut are leading the way with a stated aim to create the world’s most ethical distillery. In addition to sustainability, the consumer desire to know the source of their drinks will fuel the need for transparency in the drinks industry.

Dark spirits

The gin boom continued in 2018, but as we kick off 2019, industry insiders report that dark spirits are on the up. Cognac was up 3.6% last year, and premium whisky has seen a significant year-on-year increase in its sales, according to IWSR. With an obvious consumer appetite for darker spirits, it’s now up to the mixer industry to create drinks to complement our changing palette. Watch this space.