Insights and Studies

Drink Up These 2018 Beverage Industry Trends

Drink Up These 2018 Beverage Industry Trends

This year we are toasting to game changers in the beverage industry. Brands like Boxed Water are turning the market on its head as they look at old products in new ways. Other companies like Health-Ade Kombucha want to make the world healthier and less artificial.The passions fueling these power house beverages hint that change is coming.

Whether your company is rethinking the classics or offering an angled marketing strategy, take a look at the 2018 trends shaking and stirring the beverage industry.

1. High-end, Alcohol-free Drinks


No carding for these cocktails. Craft sodas, fresh squeezed juices, and functional beverages are kicking booze to the curb. Who said mixed drinks had to have alcohol anyway? 75% of millennials limit their drinking when they go out, hinting at a moderation movement.  

Make sure your customers have booze-free options or give them new ideas for substitutes. If you have an excellent alcohol-free product or good mixer for a non-alcoholic drink, feature it on your brand’s social media accounts to remind consumers that they don’t need alcohol to have a good time.


2. Drinking Vinegars


The idea of having a glass of vinegar probably doesn’t seem palatable. Despair not. For centuries, raw apple cider vinegar has been a healing agent. Drinking vinegars from companies such as Suja cut back on the bite of pure vinegar and transform it into an elixir of tangy fruit.

Probiotic drink sales have grown by 31.2% in the past two years. These on-the-go vinegar drinks are packed with probiotics that help digestion and boost immune health to provide function and taste.

Harmless Harvest recently released their new line of probiotic beverages called Harmless Coconut Probiotics to keep up with consumer demand. Talk about quick turnaround. Companies are scrambling to pack in probiotics to feed the growing demand for functional and delicious options. Market the health benefits or angle of your beverage to squeeze into this growing niche.



Join our dream team! ❤️🙌🏼 // 📸: @amberwhipple

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3. Sparkling Water


Bubble, bubble, soda is in trouble. Sparkling waters are an easy swap for consumers cutting calories and high amounts of sugar. With hints of flavor, they are the reigning substitute for soda this year.

LaCroix has been in the industry for a while, but has seen major growth in the past ten years. As consumers realize the health impact of their sweet and syrupy sodas of choice, they are making more conscious consumption decisions. With fun flavors like mango, coconut, and tangerine, as well as their decorative designs, consumers can enjoy the taste and the experience. The affinity developed through their social campaigns has skyrocketed their success. Cheers to brand power.



4. Matcha Drinks


Matcha is the vibrant green powder that you might know from a Starbucks frappucino. Unlike traditional green tea, matcha is slightly sweeter and less bitter. It blends seamlessly with milks or dairy alternatives complementing the mouth feel of the tea.  Tea lovers might try scooping the powder into overnight oats, chia seed pudding, or even baking with it.

Encha Organic Matcha cultivates their tea from farms in Japan where the founder, Li Gong, discovered what he claims to be the best tasting matcha. Their source transparency and dedication to providing a high quality product has proven to be successful. Encha also features innovative ways to incorporate matcha into customers’ lattes, pastries, and more. The story surrounding their product evokes a brand affinity that customers can connect to while providing them the tools to enjoy the tea.


5. Functional Water


H2O no more. Hydration is taking a new form this year. Whether it is switching its packaging from a bottle to a box or coming from an unsuspecting plant, people are looking twice at their water.

Vita Coco Coconut Water, Maple Water, and Avitae are our functional water team captains. While Vita Coco and Maple Water derive their “water” from plants, Avitae is taking traditional water and adding caffeine to it. These companies prove that there isn’t just one way to hydrate. With more than one way to get your recommended 8 glasses a day, consumers can pack in extra nutrients and supplements lacking in normal water. Rethink the staples to deliver more to consumers thirsting for something new.



6. Less Waste


Consciousness is here to stay. Use less plastic. Make it recyclable. Use sustainably sourced ingredients. 83% of Americans say they consider sustainability when making a purchase.

But, how can companies go one step further? By using more of the products already in production. Repurposed Pod, for example, looks at the whole cacao plant instead of just the beans that we come to know as chocolate. They take the juicy and tangy pulp that producers have discarded for decades to produce bottled cacao juice. Who knew? Educate your consumers on where your beverage is made and the steps your company is taking to be stewards of the planet. Showing your customers how you reduce waste will brand your dedication to sustainability.




Use these trends as an opportunity to reflect on your brand. What ingredients you are using, where do they come from, and how they are used? Beyond the product, see your brand from the customer’s perspective. Do they see you as a dynamic company, as the trailblazer of beverages? This is your year to pave the way.

Download the 2024 Outlook Report

As the retail landscape continues to evolve, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of the latest trends and challenges. Download our report today to see how more than 160+ CG executives and field leaders are strategizing for 2024.

Gabrielle Downey

Gabrielle is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly with an enthusiasm for creativity and innovation. While pursuing her passion for writing, she is studying economics and philosophy at Boston College. She spends her free time exploring Boston in search of the best cup of coffee and cannoli.

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