Posts in Alcohol Marketing

Photo by Wyron A

Booze Views: Not another 2019 trends article

January 30th, 2019 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Booze Views: Not another 2019 trends article”

It’s crystal-ball-gazing time. What do you mean you’ve only read 28 Biggest trends to look out for in 2019 pieces throughout the month?! All touting blockchain, something influencery and some nonsense about artisan pisco? That’s nowhere your quota for January.

So just in the nick of time before January ends, strap in and come with me on a completely arbitrary journey through a set of predictions grounded roughly 20% in data and logic, 50% in my ad hoc reckoning and 30% in stuff you’ll find at least 119% more entertaining than every other one of these articles…


It’s the abbreviation (not acronym) beer marketers love to mess with. Last year it was all about NEIPA (‘N-E-I-P-A?’ ‘Neepa?’ Don’t waste your time.). But DIPA, RIPA, IIPA and BIPA (which has at least three potential meanings at last count) have all played their part in fostering that fuzzy warm feeling of putrid smugness among craft hipsters who bandy them around just desperately hoping you’ll betray your pathetic ignorance by asking what the letters stand for.

Know-it-all bashing aside, it’s the beer market trend that keeps on giving – the people want their IPA, and they want it different. This year will be no exception and there will be yet another year-defining sub-style. Brut was something of a slow burn last year and could see a mainstream boost that will push it to the forefront of 2019, but I’m still waiting to see what this year’s next-big-thing will be in the seemingly saturation-proof world of IPA.

Photo by Jonas Jacobsson


Brexit. Brexit Brexit Brexit. Good, now we’ve addressed that in sufficient depth we can move on. Seriously, it’s still anyone’s guess as to exactly what it’s going to mean for the drinks sector. But there will undoubtedly be a greater focus on home-produced booze, whether that’s simply media guff and publicity stunts rather than genuinely level-headed, reasoned and transparent business decisions (ahem).

The obvious spotlight contender is British wine, and I predict that many will be touting the sleeping giant that is the UK wine industry. An interesting post from online wine shop Vincarta puts this in context – according to the author, countries that produce more wine than the UK currently include Jordan and Malta. Malta is less than half the size of London. Though growth seems an entirely realistic prospect, the reality may not live up to the hype that I reckon is about to come.

Photo by Suda Guan


… roughly equivalent to that of a gerbil farting in the Mongolian tundra.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. But if you read enough trends articles you’ll be as sick of hearing about voice as I am. For the best part of two years it’s been second only to blockchain (pahahahaha) as marketing’s favourite white elephant. Let’s draw a line in the sand*: voice tech is great for menial home tasks and, for the vast majority, it’s basically a robot butler whose sole function is to change the radio station.

Where it could have a knock-on impact: increasing listener figures for DAB and streaming platforms could become more attractive for above-the-line spend. But with the attendant regulatory concerns, that’s unlikely to have a huge impact on booze.

*The nice thing about lines in the sand is they’re very easy to brush away…




What it says, really. I’ve written before about my thoughts on the marketing world’s youth obsession. And I certainly don’t claim to be a sole outlier in that respect – I wasn’t the first to call bullshit on the frequently black-and-white interpretations of Strauss-Howe, and I sense a genuine turning of the tide this year. If youngsters really are the straight-faced teetotallers they’re made out to be then the obvious money is on their boozehound parents. It’ll be interesting to see if marketing tactics do start to skew any older this year.

Here’s an image of some young people not drinking… POW!

Photo by Zachary Nelson


The primary driver will be pure faddism, but there are actually two other factors at play that I reckon make a solid case for this.

Firstly, the trend is also likely to be driven by the ever-increasing environmental awareness that everyone likes to attribute everything to. It’s simple: hops are very, very water-intensive to grow, and there’s growing media interest in that.

And lastly there’s brewing’s constant search for the Next Big Thing. Say what you like about the craft sector’s incessant pursuit of new flavours and trends, it’s created a climate where it’s incumbent on independent brewers to be continually rolling out new products. It’s what we’ve come to expect.

The starry-eyed may laud the spirit of constant exploration; cynics may call it a convenient way of avoiding market saturation. But if craft brewing has shown one thing over recent years, it’s that there’s a seemingly inexhaustible interest in and a market for new beer styles. But, frankly, brewers are running out of material.

Photo by Elevate

My prediction: a wave of hopless beers with a focus on Lithuanian kaimiskas. You read it here first.

Lithuanian farmhouse ales – huge in 2019…



Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

If you’d like to hire our excellent team contact (for both US & UK work) or if working with us sounds fun (it is) email 

If you want to get back to the main site just click this way.

Booze Views: Why Dry January Can Be a Great Time for Alcohol Marketers

December 18th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Booze Views: Why Dry January Can Be a Great Time for Alcohol Marketers”


You’ve got Christmas sewn up – but what about the New Year? While the world at large is going about convincing itself that January is a time of new beginnings, new approaches and new mindsets (as opposed to excess-induced guilt, drudgery and seasonal affective disorder), it’s basically time for the drinks biz to sit on its hands, right?

Well, if that’s starting a little cynically for you, fear not – because this post is all about how Dry January can be a ray of winter sunshine in the alcohol marketer’s life (and vice versa, believe it or not).

There are any number of ways in which the issue is rather more complex than turkeys voting for Christmas; so here are just a few reasons why people not drinking booze can be a good thing for the alcohol industry (and how alcohol marketers can help)…


Ye could put a goldfish in that and it wouldn’t even die. – Mitchell and Webb


Reset, reconsider, refresh – that’s what we’re told January is all about. At least, that’s very possibly how your customers see it.

Of course, the traditional view of January is as a bit of downtime in live campaign activity so you can cook up the next few months. So may I suggest to…

…live in the now, man.

Follow the general public’s example and view it as a chance to reconsider your approach – whether that’s strategy, approach, values, messaging; your audience is probably more receptive to change than ever, so if you’re thinking about any kind of repositioning activity, the New Year could be the time.


The cliché surrounding Dry January is well-worn: a month of self-flagellating abstinence followed by an immediate spiral into excess and return to self-loathing that only hair of the dog will cure.

As with any cliché, there’s some truth to it, but, as I posited last month, the mindset it’s predicated on may be dwindling. The jury is still out on whether Dry January itself has long-term benefits, but the culture of excess that implies the big month’s necessity is losing its force.

Quality is increasingly trumping quantity in the booze market – and the conversation around Dry January 2019 is likely to reflect that. Keep close tabs on what’s being said and how Dry Jan plays out; it could give you some invaluable audience insights.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


With that in mind, the coming year, perhaps more than any before, is going to be about building sustainability into alcohol marketing strategies.

There are no two ways about it – 2019 is already showing some real promise at turning out to be an absolute shitter of a year. Sorry – didn’t quite leave the cynicism in paragraph 1. Well, it’s not Christmas yet.


Just to be absolutely clear, I do not mean ‘market your non-alcoholic beer’.

Actually get involved in Dry January. Take part in it. Talk about it. Create content about it. I have yet to see an alcohol brand really go all-in on Dry January. Now, that’s for the very obvious reason that it has immense potential to blow up in your face spectacularly.

As an alcohol brand, embracing Dry January is probably less sticking your neck out than it is building the guillotine in a very public place and handing the release mechanism to the nearest psychopath.

A crass marketing-led approach to embracing Dry January is, of course, doomed to fail in a way that would make Pepsi and Kendall Jenner look like Cannes Lion contenders. No one wants to be the brand that gets destroyed for trying to cash in on Dry January.

📷 – Teen Vogue

Don’t do that. Obviously.

Instead, be authentic. Actually care about it. Come up with some ways you can contribute by tackling head-on the problems that make Dry January such a big deal. Address their root causes. Naturally you need a very (and I mean very) well-thought-out comms plans in place to even think about getting involved, but it is doable. And if you do it right, by being a truly responsible alcohol brand with a positive message, your positivity will very likely come back at you in spades.


Elton John is bloody everywhere this November, so permit me a crude comparison between the circular nature of life that he brought our attention to in such glorious transatlantic pub singer fashion, and that of this very article. I am, of course, returning to the idea of re-positioning.

January is a time to rethink about what you stand for as a purveyor of booze. Sure, you could be the brand that’s there waiting eagerly at the saloon door to 1st February with a beer bong to slosh as much piss as you can down the gullets of the thirsty masses. But, in short, that’s not a great look. Dry January 2019 is only going to increase the volume and the breadth of the discussion around alcohol consumption, and the industry will do well to have ready answers and something sensible to say. Now’s the time to plan.



Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

If you’d like to hire our excellent team contact (for both US & UK work) or if working with us sounds fun (it is) email 

If you want to get back to the main site just click this way.

Remote Working from a laptop overlooking a pool in California USA

Do More Work, Don’t Go Into the Office. Our Take On Remote Working.

December 10th, 2018 Posted by Life / Work Balance, Social Media 0 thoughts on “Do More Work, Don’t Go Into the Office. Our Take On Remote Working.”

“Remote working” – one of the buzz phrases of our decade. Some see it as the lazy millennial’s way to avoid “real” work, others see it as an innovative way to be more productive, efficient and deliver better quality work as a whole. Either way, as I write this article I’m remote working from the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank, overlooking the River Thames glistening in the morning sunlight. It’s a gorgeous day, I’m enjoying a great coffee and I’m surrounded by nervous-excited graduates, dressed up being admired by their proud families. It. Is. Buzzing. I am inspired.

Why am I here and not in an office like most other agencies? Because I chose to be. Why did I choose to be here?  So I could get more work done.

I just don’t work nearly as well in an office as I do elsewhere, on my own terms. When I need to knuckle down and get shit done, this is what I do. I get out of the office, away from actual distractions and into an environment like this. Remote working works for me.

I once said to a former employer: “Hey, what if we gave everyone in the company the option to work remotely once a month?” and was shut down completely without any real rationale or reason. When I suggested the same to another employer I was told “we can’t trust them to actually do any work” this surprised me entirely.  

I felt that if that was really the case then why did you hire these people? I wondered if the team would actually respect the employer more, and thus do more work, if they were given this option. Both times I had suggested the idea of remote working from a point of view to IMPROVE productivity for the business, not hinder it.

Sitting here now, I look around and see young people proudly taking selfies with their degrees and throwing their hats in the air for the perfect Boomerang (the social app, not the Aboriginal hunting implement) and thinking… how do these people want to work for their future employers? What do they demand for their lifestyle? How can I build my business to inspire them to deliver our clients more than the average agency?

There must be good reason why Shoreditch House looks more like a work space than a members club during the week, why WeWork, Spacious and Workshop Cafe are booming all over the world. Additionally, co-working spaces like Campfire have proven (to us at least) to go out of their way to help businesses like ours, with teams that you could go for a beer with after work.

We were one of the first companies to sign up for Spacious in Brooklyn, we’ve both witnessed it growing from strength to strength. There is a huge market for a flexible, affordable place to work, to share ideas and to drink coffee. Shouldn’t have to cost the equivalent of your rent in order to get this experience.

Even Slack the MSN style comms tool is so integral to companies around the world now – and both our Carluccio’s and Regal Rogue clients have rolled out Slack across their businesses thanks in part to our advice. Many businesses can struggle with closed minded perceptions of how things are done. But why can’t we go against the grain if the end result is better?

So far, YesMore Agency is only 13 months old (at the time of writing this). We helped grow results for 13 clients and we’ve had 10 staff work at YesMore – all without ever being in the same room. We’ve had our team working as they would in an office but on their own terms from London, New York, Ireland, California, Brighton, Hawaii, Scotland, Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Spain, Poland and more.

Dan, my business partner, lives in Brooklyn New York whilst I live in East London – we speak every day (and collaborate seamlessly) whilst only actually having worked in the same room for 9 working days so far in the business. We just don’t need to. In fact, we’re more productive when we don’t.

Not sure about you but this doesn’t inspire much in us

We’ve hired people with a work ethic like ours, we trust everyone to deliver on the promises they make and we all communicate instinctively. And when people don’t pull their weight you actually notice it more in the drop on deliverables, whilst in an office you can whittle hours away hiding hungover behind your screen.

As a result, all of our clients are happy. I believe that’s down to us and our team being allowed (encouraged even) to work in more productive environments. Above all else enabling us to continue being passionate and dedicated to both our work and our lives.

Dan and I are discussing how this will manifest itself in the future. We’ve got a good idea of our direction but will always have questions… Will we always allow our teams to work remotely? What problems could we encounter? What do our clients think? Do we tell our clients? Will people’s perceptions hold us back? What is the future of the service agency? Do people want to commute to an uninspiring environment? Can our team work from our client’s spaces for added creativity?

“Great ideas start out as polarising, they either really tug on someone’s emotions or they really perturb them in some way” – Joe Gebbia, Airbnb

When we talk about this way of working it’s already becoming very clear that some people LOVE it. At the same time some people think we’re idiots. Exciting. So re-listening to the How I Built This podcast interview with Joe Gebbia, founder of Airbnb, this morning I’m inspired to see what YOU think too.

What’s your point of view on building an agency around flexible and remote working?

Be brutal if you want, we’re thick skinned and love the challenge of both criticism and belief.

Thanks to Southbank Centre for the wifi and view of the river Thames. I’m now going downstairs for a quick skate and a sandwich in the sun before getting back onto work after lunch refreshed.

Hope you enjoyed the read. For more opinion, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol marketing sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ email, takes just 25 second read each month and arms you with fascinating stories.

If working with us sounds fun, email Or if you’d like to hire our excellent team just say hello –

woman holding sparkler on the beach

Alcohol Marketing News Top 5 Stories: #014 – December

November 29th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Alcohol Marketing News Top 5 Stories: #014 – December”

This post first appeared as an email newsletter to our subscribers, who receive 5 top stories from the world of Alcohol Marketing each month – subscribe here to get it in your inbox each month. Your December digest of the latest and greatest from the world of alcohol marketing, by the team at YesMore Agency.

Merry Christmas from YesMore Agency!




Play a track on your phone. Open up @BacardiUSA on mobile. Then press and hold on their latest 12 posts to drop sound effects into your listening experience. Very clever way to use the platform and will likely grow their audience, too. More on FAB News.





Brooklyn Craft Spirits Fest: 1st Dec
#BrooklynCraftSpiritsFest // $15 – $70

Seedlip Pop Up Gift Shop: til 8th Dec
@SeedlipDrinks // 10am-7pm // FREE

Brewgooder is Crowdfunding:
Fund, get beer & fix wells in Malawi!
@BrewGooder // #DrinkBeerGiveWater
~ Ends 10th Dec! ~




Want to get our Alcohol Marketing Top 5 to your inbox at the beginning of each month? Sign up here.

Additionally, if you want a quarterly update of what’s going on at YesMore Agency, sign up here.

Image of homeless person sleeping under street art that reads "you are going to be fine"

Drink Responsibly & Mindfully: Joining The Boos Aimed At The Booze Companies

November 6th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing, Life / Work Balance 0 thoughts on “Drink Responsibly & Mindfully: Joining The Boos Aimed At The Booze Companies”


This article was originally written and published in the November 2018 issue of River Tribe magazine. Read it in their online edition here.


I  have worked in the advertising industry for many years now going back to the early eighties.

I have worked for drink companies to help them promote their products and yes, letting the good times roll was usually the overarching theme.

With beer, we would always have to include a male bonding scene in a commercial to show that camaraderie drinking together invokes. The great Guinness ‘Surfer’ commercial depicted it as the surfers, having ridden the wave of white horses, celebrating with a joyful roll around on the beach.

Guinness - Surfer (1999, UK)

Guinness – Surfer (1999, UK)

Spirits were a step up in terms of maturing tastes and discernment. Tradition and craft crept in to show you as a person of style and impeccable taste.

Forgotten was the image of Gin Lane, where Londoners got so rat-arsed they dropped their babies whilst breastfeeding. Gin became the height of sophistication, as advertised to a track by The Human League that accompanied a film of cascading bubbles, bouncing cubes of ice and lemons being sliced in a surreal limbo setting. I have those images and that tune seared into my memory from seeing it multiple times at the cinema.

A proliferation of drinks from around the world brought exotic concoctions into our public houses, our globe shaped cocktail cabinets at home and PVC leather studded bars that appeared in the corners of our living rooms.

I chuckle when I think how Cinzano was advertised with the late, great Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins. I cringed as a cool muscle bound black dude backed up a timid punter who entered a bar asking for a Babycham bringing the music and bar ambience to an abrupt halt. ‘I’ll have a Babycham’ boomed the cool dude in his deep baritone voice, creating an ‘I’m Spartacus’ moment. Everybody followed his lead and the party was back on.

Babycham – I’d Love A Babycham – (1986) UK Advert

The drinks companies wanted that bar-call in their advertising leading to brand names entering the lexicon of abbreviated requests, hence the term JD & Coke.

Even though rules and regulations on alcohol marketing have become very restricting, drinks companies have become savvy about getting around these codes of conduct to keep their massive profits rolling in.

We live in a culture that has always embraced alcohol as a way to enhance our leisure time, consolidate our victories and toast our triumphs. That has been drummed into us by clever marketeers. Being puritanical and condemning the evils of the demon drink has been proved to backfire dramatically in the past. 

We only have to see what happened during prohibition in the States to understand that banning drinking only drives it underground to be exploited by the black market.

So education and information was the only way forward which is why the government created the COI to keep us all on the straight and narrow with some sage advice.

I was in charge of the ‘Think!’ anti drink drive campaign amongst others, trying to deter young men from getting behind the wheel of their cars, even after as few as two pints.

This was put out on TV, radio and online to the audience who were most likely to offend at Christmas and the summer months, but were also the easiest to influence before the habit of drink driving became ingrained.

Think! Anti Drink Driving

Even drinks companies have run their own drink drive messages as part of their CSR (corporate social responsibility).

Drink Responsibly also comes direct from the booze companies, but only goes as far as to warn about number of units and not ruining an evening by having one too many.

What has never been on the agenda, is offering practical help and effective coping mechanisms for people suffering from mental health conditions.

Solus drinking is never something the drinks companies have proffered up, as it’s not an attractive image. It is however a stark reality for many people dealing with stress, loneliness and mental trauma.

Are drink companies pumping any of their vast profits into curtailing that side of things? Oh no, as that would entail taking responsibility and that they can never hold their hands up to any culpability in that regard.

However, it seems millennials are beginning to wake up and smell the alcohol and rejecting the lifestyle booze companies have been showing us through their rose tinted glasses. 

Recent statistics show over a third of under 25’s don’t drink and a third of 16- to 24-year-olds have experienced a mental health issue in the past 12 months. This increase in mental health issues is driving a different attitude towards drinking within the young and taking the allure off believing drinking equals a good time for all.

Frequent drinking among young adults 2005 – 2013 from the Office For National Statistics

One such millennial is Tom Harvey, a local entrepreneur who grew up in Twickenham. Tom has co-founded a company called YesMore, which is an alcohol marketing agency that assists brands to promote themselves and grow their businesses, but in a fully responsible way.

He does this with a clear conscience as his business aims to reduce alcohol abuse with better marketing, where the dangers drink poses to mental health sufferers aren’t swept under the sticky pub carpet.

Tom doesn’t see alcohol as the enemy, but within his remit at YesMore, wants to recognise that poor mental health can lead to alcohol abuse and vice versa.

‘We need to ensure vulnerable people are aware of the downside of alcohol when suffering from mental conditions. Using it to alleviate anxiety, block out unwelcome thoughts and to numb painful memories or regrets can have the polar opposite effect of what drinkers are hoping to achieve’

Tom Harvey – YesMore Ltd.

As one of the original ‘Mad Men’ of advertising with that archaic view of believing drinking was glamorous and aspirational. I now think it’s time for us to all examine our relationship with booze in a fully sober and sane way.


Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

If you’d like to hire our excellent team contact (for both US & UK work) or if working with us sounds fun (it is) email 

If you want to get back to the main site just click this way.



Alcohol Marketing News Top 5 Stories: #013 – November

November 1st, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Alcohol Marketing News Top 5 Stories: #013 – November”

This post first appeared as an email newsletter to our subscribers, who receive 5 top stories from the world of Alcohol Marketing each month – subscribe here to get it in your inbox each month. Your November digest of the latest and greatest from the world of alcohol marketing, by the team at YesMore Agency.



For too long brands have wasted precious time, money & resources on meticulous content planning – forcing social channels to feel frigid and ‘addy’. It’s time to empower the Community Manager and help brands be more sociable on social media again. Here.




WhiskyFest San Fransisco: 2nd Nov
@WhiskyAdvocate // $275pp
(we’ll be there, email Dan if you are)

Beavertown Black Friday: 23rd Nov
@BeavertownBeer // 6-11pm // £38pp

Sipsmith Skyline Skating: Nov-Jan
@Sipsmith // £6 – £8pp
(drunk rooftop skating, anyone?)



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Additionally, if you want a quarterly update of what’s going on at YesMore Agency, sign up here.

Pint of lager on the bar at a pub

Why Young Teetotallers Could Be Great For Pub Culture

October 25th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing, Life / Work Balance 1 thought on “Why Young Teetotallers Could Be Great For Pub Culture”

A national institution is in crisis. We teeter on the precipice of a watershed moment in the UK’s national identity so calamitous, and with such all-encompassing consequences at every level of society and the national consciousness, that it threatens to rift apart the very fabric of our collective psyche and our ideas of what it means to be British.

I am, of course, referring to the grand British tradition of binge drinking.

Just in case you’d missed the earth-shattering news that young people are drinking less: young people are drinking less. I’ll preface our conclusions on this by making it clear that I think the marketing world’s persistent obsession with generational demographics is basically the plastic straw in the nostril of the adland turtle. But I concede that once in a while, a catch-all generational insight can be revealing.


The persistent trope paints Generation Z (ugh) as variously ‘value-driven’, ‘socially conscious’, into ‘retro’ aesthetics and, basically, smarter, savvier, kinder, healthier and in every conceivable way better than, apparently, any generation that’s gone before them.

In other words, while these young, razor-sharp, hyper-ethical do-gooders are swigging their kombucha (in between soup kitchen volunteering shifts and hours developing million-selling apps that somehow or other fight climate change from their bedrooms), we’re all drinking the Kool Aid.

There are doubtless a few kernels of truth in this. But, like everything the Strauss–Howe obsessives declare in their desperate, swivel-eyed pursuit of clicks, it’s laughably reductive.

The idea that 20-year-olds are homogeneously liberal, socially aware and more switched-on than older counterparts is obviously ridiculous. But what the misinterpreted research does indicate are some consistent trends: a generally increased awareness of social issues (notably mental health) and a penchant for the ‘retro’ (read: shell suits and Britpop).

Here’s a picture of some healthy Gen-Z’ers (probably) cheersing juices!


While some of this research paints teenagers as culturally backward-looking, where the cohort before them displayed an obsession with modernity, it’s probably more just an obvious consequence of youth’s rebellion – eschew the trends that immediately precede you. And backward-looking ideals are always just that – idealistic.

Whenever we revive the ideas and aesthetics of the past, we invariably cherry-pick. ‘Vintage’ festivals embrace the quiffs and leather jackets, leaving out the stereotyped gender roles, keenness on flick-knives and spam-based cuisine. Steampunk embraces clockwork and fun goggles without the typhoid, child labour and general heinousness of Victorian society.

And so the current ‘retro’ 90s vibe embraces Britpop without the misogynist swagger and obligatory binge-drinking.

While part of this generation’s mentality is probably to do with that cherry-picking, there might also be something to their apparently greater predilection to question the negative norms of previous generations.

And that suggests that they might be shunning not alcohol per se, but rather a particular attitude towards alcohol. Namely, the excessive drinking culture of youth that’s come to be associated with machismo, destruction and destabilisation (just take the briefest of looks at the language of drunkenness in English); all things that the yoot are supposedly increasingly sceptical about.

Frequent drinking among young adults 2005 – 2013 from the Office For National Statistics


I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those of us who grew up during Peak Booze are increasingly shifting our drink habits towards craft at the same time that the next cohort of would-be drinkers are likelier to reject booze altogether.

But the decline of vertical drinking isn’t necessarily going to equate to a wholesale reduction in alcohol consumption. Instead, the optimist in me wants to believe that we could see a new, considered, healthier approach to alcohol begin to take hold of the UK’s national psyche.

Now, I admit that’s a big leap. But with the drinks industry already behind the idea, some kind of change is inevitable – Diageo, for example, set out its stall at the start of 2018, embracing the mantra of quality over quantity that’s gradually gathered momentum over the year.


Of course, to reduce a wholesale change in a nation’s mindset to the role of big industry players, ignoring the other socioeconomic factors at play is oversimplifying it (or bang on the money, depending on where you rate on the conspiracy-theorometer). But there are all kinds of potential consequences to get excited about. Product, yes. But a new attitude towards drinking means a new attitude not just to the things we drink, but the places we drink them in. That’s where the retro aesthetic comes back in.

The traditional concept of the pub is just an objectively lovely one. It’s the reason country pubs are the go-to happy place of misty-eyed Middle England. Before that starts to sound like a prime bit of retro cherry-picking (lest we forget the UKIP campaign on the subject), the point is this: conditions are right for a revival of a more community-focused type of drinking venue, where the goal isn’t to get as pissed as possible while still being allowed in before leaving in a shower of blue vomit. I’ll save the Orwell tribute for another time, but you get the idea. Our pubs are still facing an uncertain future, and it’ll still take a raft of measures to secure them. But while it might seem counterintuitive, a less booze-minded generation doesn’t have to be a bad thing for pub culture. It could be a great one.



Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

If you’d like to hire our excellent team contact (for both US & UK work) or if working with us sounds fun (it is) email 

If you want to get back to the main site just click this way.


Canada Legalizes Cannabis – What The Drinks Industry Need to Know About ‘Canada-bis’

October 16th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Canada Legalizes Cannabis – What The Drinks Industry Need to Know About ‘Canada-bis’”


This week, Canada legalizes Cannabis and stores all over the country will soon open their doors to sales of a multi-billion dollar product. And what’s more, the list of products for marketers and brands to profit from is seemingly endless.

Cannabis infused gummies, beef jerky, brownies (ok we’ve known about those for a while) even cannabis infused lip balm or perfume.

Yes, since California’s Prop. 64 passed (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act “AUMA”) on November 8th 2016, dollar signs started appearing in some very hazy bloodshot eyes.

With the “green tide” washing over Canadian shores today, what does this mean for marketers and drinks marketers especially?

Let’s take a look…


While Canada legalizes cannabis just today, medical marijuana has been legal in California for over the last two decades. This full legalization in the state is the checkered flag for the now rapidly growing cannabis industry.

Marijuana is legal to some extent in 30 states in the US and is also available for recreational use in Uruguay too.

It’s also being decriminalized and is widely available in places like the Netherlands and Spain. Counties like Lebanon are currently legalizing marijuana farming in an effort to boost their economy.


“Canada fully legalizing marijuana for adult use is a historic moment that the whole world should celebrate”

Daniel Yi, a spokesman for MedMen – California-based marijuana dispensary


Legal status of recreational cannabis across the world

Legal status of recreational cannabis across the world BLUE =Legal
ORANGE = Illegal but decriminalized
PINK = Illegal but often unenforced
RED = Illegal


When weed became legalised (somewhat) in the States, sales erupted. There’s a joke here about sales being high but let’s not go there. 

Apparently the industry took $16 billion in sales in 2017. For reference, total alcoholic beverage sales in the US amounted to approximately $223.2 billion in 2016.

So in it’s first year, and despite being not made federally legal, compared to the total alcoholic beverage sales (that’s beer, wine, cocktails, everything) weed sales collected are 7.1% of alcohol sales in the US.

In terms of how it’s growing, a report titled “US Legal Cannabis: Driving $40 Billion Economic Output” by Arcview Market Research, in partnership with BDS Analytics states:


“The total economic output from legal cannabis will grow 150% from $16 billion in 2017 to $40 billion by 2021.”



Now us folks in drinks marketing are quick to jump on a hot trend, especially when numbers like the above are in play.

Even drinks giants Coke said in a statement last month that it is “closely watching” the growth of CBD, as an ingredient in what it called “functional wellness beverages”.

Constellation Brands, the maker of Corona beer, Svedka vodka and Casa Noble tequila, announced last month that it is investing an additional $4 billion in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth.

Lagunitas was the first brewery to launch a cannabis infused drink earlier this year, using THC (the bit which causes the high) not just CBD (that part which kind of just chills you out).

Whilst technically a beer, labelled as a ‘cannabis infused hoppy sparkling water’ it’s clear the company know’s what’s up. I’ll be going into further detail on this particular venture in another article coming out soon…

As for categories besides beer, there’s Cannawine now on the market – running under the promises of no hangovers, something sure to win over a portion of the alcohol market.


In 1969 a Gallop poll showed 12% of Americans favored legalisation, rising to 64% now in 2018. To quote Jon Oliver:


“Marijuana is just something we’ve all gradually decided is OK, like Mark Wahlberg as a serious actor”


Staunch Republicans and even Christian groups from both sides of politics in the US are slowly coming over to the green side, now that the law deems it ok. This rapid normalisation is something alcohol marketers need to be taking notes on.

Making it easy for consumer to find information coupled with this “open door” feeling, with products entering the market featuring clear and understandable branding is to be applauded. To any beer brand waxing lyrical on which yeast strains are in fashion currently, while at the same time wondering why new audiences are staring blankly at them. Look below…

Dosist, one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies of 2018, developed their range of pens for the newcomer to the market.

The briefest of glances at their product range makes it clear what each one does, how it can help and what you should chose.

If this isn’t a great example of branding which educates and on-boards new consumers then I don’t know what is!


This is the main question. One article claims that of its ninety grocery, convenience, drug, and mass distribution stores surveyed alcohol sales have dropped almost 15% in states with medical marijuana laws.

The study concludes that marijuana and alcohol are in fact strong substitutes for each other. In that, from a marketing sense both products share a similar audience.

If this is to be believed (and I have several holes to pick on that massively sweeping statement), then of course by governments introducing legal marijuana and companies releasing marijuana products, we will see an impact on alcohol sales where it once reigned supreme.

A wider, even more fascinating question is whether legalised weed products will overshadow or “canna-balize” that’s right, alcohol altogether.


According to the Cannabiz Consumer Group (C2G), 27% of 40,000 people surveyed last year said that cannabis already does replace beer in their lives or could if the former were legalized.


Rob McMillan, Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division president was discussing this very subject with two wine industry guests.

The group stated they see no evidence for this and do not believe legalized marijuana will be a major substitute for wine consumption. McMillan pointed out that beer is more likely than wine to suffer sales reductions. His reasoning, “wine compliments a meal, marijuana doesn’t”.

Seems like Rob has never tasted the pairing of a family sized bag of Doritos with a smoke if he truly believes marijuana doesn’t work with food!

But he is onto something. We need to look at the occasion here.

Fine dining may not be under threat from switching out your merlot with some Mango Kush, and I doubt family 4th of July BBQs or Father’s Day pub sessions will evolve to a passing your Dad a vape pen over crushing a few cold lagers. But the shifts in consumer perceptions outlined above are coming rapidly, so don’t feel like it’s never going to happen.


This category will continue to boom, and this definitely isn’t all just hype. There are learnings to be had already and changes in consumer culture that’ll potentially leave your brand in the dust if you’re not paying attention.

Users of these products fall into distinct camps. Social – that’s both long terms users and new users – and medical. Both areas are full of potential, with strong consumer needs.

By understanding these needs, brands can help minimise consumers moving elsewhere. My strongest feeling is that most marketers are misunderstanding the needs of the consumer here. If you still think of weed as something you smoked at Uni (college) pre, during and post party then you’re in need of a crash course.

Some consumers will leave the market if they will find that marijuana answers their needs better than alcohol – that’s to be expected. But by acknowledging these needs and aiming to answer them in some part, you can help safeguard your brand.

Consumers are always changing and evolving and laws like these will effect the wider marketplace beyond drinks, guaranteed. Even so much so that we could be seeing products on UK shores very soon. What do you think?


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Alcohol Marketing Top 5 header image of Regal Rogue bottle in sunshine in Saint Tropez in France

Alcohol MarketingTop 5 Stories: #012 – October

October 1st, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Alcohol MarketingTop 5 Stories: #012 – October”

Your October digest of the latest and greatest from the world of alcohol marketing, by the team at YesMore Agency.

This post first appeared as an email newsletter to our subscribers, who receive 5 top stories from the world of Alcohol Marketing each month – subscribe here.




A beauty historian and a psychologist explore why influencer content is becoming samey and how confidence and self-esteem play such a big part in it. Here. Urban Outfitters are even selling an influencer halloween costume (!) so you can fit in too. Here.




New bar, The Parrot, from Idris Elba with chauffeur-driven Aston Martins
@TheParrotLDN // @IdrisElba // Oct

London Cocktail Week: 1-7 Oct 2018
@DrinkUpLDN // #LCW18 // £10+

Wine & Spirits Show: 12-13 Oct 2018
@WineAndSpiritsShow // £40+


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Booze Views: Why this could be the winter of the gin toddy

September 10th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing, Spirits 0 thoughts on “Booze Views: Why this could be the winter of the gin toddy”

Gin lovers might be holding out for summer’s last hurrah, but you can bet your sweet copa glass that alcohol marketers have their sights set firmly on what you’re going to be warming up with this winter. And I think conditions are set for the spectacular return of a Dickensian favourite.

You don’t need to take an interest in gin. Or even in the alcohol market. A passing awareness of the existence of liquids will do to know that gin is booming. Even the national press has been all over the Interminable Rise of Gin this year and – look around – it is just bloody everywhere. Even Good Housekeeping emphatically declared the UK “a nation of gin lovers [sic]”, as gin sales in 2017 grew 27% on 2016, with a massive spike at Christmas.

But, thing is, it’s obviously not all that interminable.


Breathless coverage of WSTA figures in March (aping a doubtless-even-more-breathless press release) announced that Brits bought a bottle of gin per adult at Christmas 2017. If those bottles have all been polished off by now, it would be equivalent to every adult in the UK drinking at least one (generous) gin and tonic a fortnight. Which is not unimaginable. But, given that, for all gin’s meteoric rise, it obviously can’t sustain this growth long-term. Add the fact that gin has already leapfrogged vodka and whisk(e)y to become the UK’s most popular spirit, and the ceiling looks ever closer.

Yes, June saw World Gin Day and Mother’s Day combine to boost sales even further (cue ‘Mother’s Ruin’ headlines across the trade press; sigh), according to the WSTA, but the gin market’s recent trajectory has been so steep that it’s going to be a very tall order to maintain it.

Sales volume of gin and genever manufactured in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2008 to 2016 (in thousand litres of pure alcohol)


Accordingly, producers and marketers will be getting increasingly inventive. We’ve already seen the first wave of this with new product development; Adnams (which, laudably, follows its brewing tradition to distil from grain – but let’s not get into that debate) was the latest notable producer to jump on the pink gin bandwagon – a trend so thoroughly arbitrary it might genuinely have been inspired by a game of Pin the Tail on the Dulux Catalogue. The next theatre is the pub. New sales and new routes to market mean new product on the bar. And, for my money, that new product is the thoroughly old-fashioned gin toddy.


I can understand if you’re sceptical. The combination of heat and booze tends to go firmly one way or the other: spectacular, Christmas market-drowning success or sad, bartop urn-stewing failure. Mulled wine and mulled cider – bang on. Apple whiskey punch – not so sure. But there are two interesting differentiators for success: firstly, simplicity and clarity of product. Mulled wine: hot wine. Spices, yes; sugar, yes. But recognisably hot, sweet wine. Easy. Mulled cider: well, it’s like mulled wine, but with cider, isn’t it? Hot, sugary cider. Yes please. And secondly: tradition.

It’s always about the story in alcohol marketing. Mulled wine found its way into winter tradition through the ubiquity of glühwein at ‘German’ Christmas markets, helped along by the middle-class predilection for a vin chaud of a skiing holiday. Mulled cider sensibly rode its coattails in more recent years, making a savvy nod to West Country wassail tradition. It’s got bona fide historical creds. That goes a long way in making it stick.


The gin toddy ticks both boxes. Basic proposition: sugary, lemony hot gin. Laaarvely. Its provenance is a tad hazy, but it’s probably sufficient that it’s referenced in a song from Oliver! (“gin toddies, large measures”). And, as a bonus, let’s not forget the fact that it gives gin marketers yet another opportunity to wax lyrical about the botanicals. Because it’s always about the botanicals (read: stuff you’d normally either a) go out of your way to avoid in a bag of Allsorts, b) put in a curry or c) spend an ill-tempered afternoon ripping out of your driveway).

Is this an earth-shattering prediction? Not particularly – but I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along for the ride on my semi-informed, ad hoc reckon again. Come back next month and some other booze hack might even have published the season’s first ‘perfect hot toddy recipe’ article – I promise I’ll try to rein in the smugness.


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