Premium Drinks: Own the occasion, not the serve


Historically, outlets - such as pubs, bars, restaurants etc. - have always owned the ‘experience’ element of the customer service, so drinks brands could only go so far.

This is starting to shift. Driven by differences in consumer tastes, interests and occasions it is forcing a rethink and creating a massive opportunity for drinks brands. 

Examples of consumption fragmenting can be seen in other categories. Take TV consumption for example. Consumers can now view more specifically, relevant to their interests, tastes and occasions. 

Drinkers too are now drinking more specifically, relevant to their interests, tastes and occasions.  Variety, quantity, size, taste, frequency and occasions are all shifting, creating opportunities as the ‘one product fits all’ mass market becomes a portfolio market, of both products AND occasions.

At Studio Make Believe, we believe that objects solve problems and the problem faced by mainstream drinks who need to be able to demonstrate their adaptability or localisation to multiple occasions, is a case in point. 

The solution is part cultural and part investment. Drinks brands must embrace the changing specificity of the occasion and the context of the environment to capitalise on the opportunity and solve the problem.

This is where objects come in. 

Objects are already part of drink brands DNA. 

Whether this is branded glassware, back bar glorifiers or solutions for mixing or carriage, most of the current objects are only doing a visibility job for the brand, rather than making a tangible enhancement to the consumer experience.

Some enhancements can be universal:

  • What is the point in producing a great drink, only to have it diluted by poor quality melting ice?

  • Why is the bartender responsible for mixing all drinks?

  • If the average drink takes 20 minutes to consume, does the quality of the drink and the experience reduce due to the drink warming in people’s hands or because the condensation is wetting the hands, tables and clothes of those holding the drink?

Other enhancements need occasion and environment specificity:

  • What can brands do for the outlet or invest in that they can’t?

  • How could a serve become an additional occasion or course?

  • What object could be introduced that aids sharing, conversation or consumption?

There’s an abundance of parameters to enhance and play with when we consider time, sociability, volume of people, noise of the ambiance and level of conversation in terms of noise and topic. With an occasions based mentality, brands can approach the customer experience from the whole consumption, not just the serve. 


Anthony Dickens