Cocktail conversations: Social media influencers and their impact on spirit, wine and beer brands

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

Mainstream brands work with more influencers and have a wider reach, but craft brands tend to return a higher engagement rate. Pic: Getty/KatieSik
Mainstream brands work with more influencers and have a wider reach, but craft brands tend to return a higher engagement rate. Pic: Getty/KatieSik

Related tags craft spirits Craft beer Trends Social media

Brands are increasingly turning to social media influencers to promote their products and reach a younger audience. This is spreading to alcohol, and influencer marketing platform Traackr analyzed how alcohol brands are engaging with the new trend.

There has been an increase in the premiumization of alcohol despite the overall decline in alcohol consumption. It’s resulted in consumers choosing more expensive products that have slightly boosted revenues.

In 2018, the spirits and alcohol industry reached sales of $253.8 billion, up by 5.1% from 2017. Particularly among the younger generations, high quality wins out over high quantity.

To drive consumers to the premium products, brands are utilizing social media promotion and influencer partnerships. As Traackr’s report ‘2019 State of Influence: Spirits, Beer and Wine’​ says, most alcohol brands are warming to the idea of paid content, and establishing “powerful, effective and compliant influencer programs that speak to target audiences.”

Engaging by the numbers

Traackr analyzed cocktail trends, gin, whiskey and vodka brands, mass-market beer, hard cider brands and wine varietals along with 9,000 social media influencers working in these categories with audiences in North America and Europe.

According to Traackr, “Classic drinks such as martinis and manhattans lead the cocktail conversations among influencers, but content about margaritas gets the most engagements. Gin and whiskey are the top types of spirits garnering mentions and engagements.”

Sipsmith leads the gin conversation​ across social networks with the most activated influencers and mentions in the category. Jameson comes out on top within whiskey influencers and mentions, but slips to fourth place in engagements.

Chardonnay is the most popular wine varietal when it comes to influencer mentions, but Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon top it in engagement rate. Barefoot Wine leads in brand mentions on social media, even though their influencers have a low engagement rates.

Hard cider has been experiencing high volume growth since 2012, and Strongbow has the most active influencers and mentions, but again slips in engagement rate. Angry Orchard is one of most well-known cider brands in the world, and it manages to consistently return strong numbers on social media in all categories.

Craft doubles mass market

Traackr notes that there is a clear difference in performance between mass-market and craft alcohol. Mainstream brands may work with more influencers and have a wider reach, but it’s the craft brands that tend to return a higher engagement rate.

The report said that smaller craft breweries like Russian River Brewing Company generate influencer posts with approximately double the overall engagement rate compared to big beer brands like Michelob Ultra.

It also reveals that Guinness has the highest number of activated influencers across all categories, but only has the fourth highest engagement rate among mass market beer.

Mainstream alcohol tends to have a wider reach for TV, radio and billboard advertisements, while small craft brands rely the power of social media and word-of-mouth to market their products.

Pierre-Loic Assayag, CEO and co-founder of Traackr, said “Across the board, mass-market beer brands perform poorly among influencer generated content, signaling a trend we’ve seen across consumer segments - people will pay a premium to associate themselves with brands whose purpose transcends their product.

“Alcoholic beverage brands that connect through authentic conversations from trusted sources will stay relevant and continue to grow in the current downturn, while others will be further commoditized and will struggle with sales and margins.”

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