The growth in ‘craft drinks’ demonstrates a larger cultural trend in consumer consumption behaviour.
At one level it can be seen as the discovery of authenticity, giving consumers a new story to try. The handmade nature of ‘craft’ implies an attention to detail, but one of the secrets of success, sitting at the heart of many craft drinks brands, is that the drink has gone beyond being just a product.
Many craft drinks, not only have originality in their production, but they also leverage the whole consumer experience, creating not just the perfect serve, but the perfect experience. This difference is what many of the bigger, more mainstream, brands are not competing with.
Take Sipsmith as an example. They have tours, flavours, drinks experimentation kits, an authentic story that has a specific geography and a sipping service which delivers a quarterly taste experience of the four best gins they trialled that season to your door. Their stills even have thoughtfully given names.
It’s not just about a perfect serve, it’s about a perfect experience, because it doesn't end with consumption.
It has lots of joined up ‘brand’ dots that maintain engagement and provide physical touchpoints.
This sequence of touchpoints is a customer journey.
The physicality of receiving the sipping service box, followed by the opportunity to trial the elegantly presented bottles - presented at a size that physically says ‘trial size’ - ties together with the opportunity to visit the physical place it was created in. Each touchpoint is a choreographed brand engagement based on objects and physicality.
The challenge and opportunity for many large drinks brands hinges on this cultural difference in their traditional way of thinking and operating; from creating the perfect serve to creating the perfect experience and thinking about this experience in terms of a series of gains across a collection of objects.