Premiumisation & brand elevation

Premiumisation describes the broad trend of consumers ‘trading up’ and choosing more premium products in the quest for unique, authentic consumption experiences. In recent years, premiumisation has become a key driver behind value growth in spirits sales around the world, as consumers look for increasingly exciting and high-quality experiences and choices to suit their tastes.

Of all alcohol beverages, spirits are best placed to answer to the premiumisation trend thanks to the breadth of the category and its unique ability to produce complex, high-value, aspirational products supported by traditional skills and techniques such as, for instance, macerating, mixing or ageing. By promoting premiumisation, the spirits sector can increase sales value rather than sales volumes (see graph below). Premiumisation can thus help foster a sensible, moderate relationship with alcohol (drinking better, but not more). Spirits producers also attach a high value to the consumers’ experience when tasting premium spirits.

Demand for premium spirits has been accompanied by other emerging consumer trends, such as the quest for products that are authentic, ethically conscious, and more environmentally friendly. Consumers attach higher value to products that can credibly be demonstrated, be authentic, or to have been produced in an ethically conscious way, or whose brand image aligns with consumer wellbeing.

Premiumisation is multi-faceted and has many aspects that are worthy of promotion. From a public health perspective, whilst not a silver bullet, premiumisation deserves to be better understood and further examined in terms of its potential contribution and role in helping consumers move away from risky drinking patterns and reducing alcohol-related harm. This can be supported by:

  • Producers building highly innovative, aspirational & responsible brands that drive consumers towards ’drinking better, but not more’;
  • A regulatory framework that allows for a competitive marketplace which encourages innovation and a broad product offering that facilitates high-value choices, while demanding honesty in labelling, particularly in terms of provenance.



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