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The art of craft

The art of craft

As the food and beverage sector adapts to ensure its survival, a new ethos of small-scale manufacturing is helping keep companies afloat.


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Black olives in bowl and olive oil

Craft beer has been the surprising consumer boom of the past decade. But is this a one off? According to Mintel’s Global Drinks Analyst Jonny Forsyth: “Millennials are a key driver of ‘craft’, which appeals to their quest for quality over quantity, individualism over the mediocrity of being part of the crowd, and the appeal of locally made products with an authentic story.”

Analysts predict the main ‘craft’ categories being transformed are:

Cider - A 2014 Mintel report revealed that only 8% of drinkers consider cider a sophisticated tipple. So applying the craft ethos of quality, flavor and innovation could give the drink a much needed makeover. Brands such as Citizen Cider and California Cider Company’s Ace have enjoyed huge jumps in sales – 39% for the latter in 2015.

Olive oil - If you were a Cretan fisherman in the 1960s, you probably drank a glass of olive oil before breakfast. The oil may have lost cachet since but could it make a comeback? The fourth biggest brand in the US now is California Olive Ranch, run by Silicon Valley veteran Gregg Kelley, who wants olive oil to be as prestigious as fine wine.

Spirits - Ten years ago, there were 50 craft distilleries in the US. Today, the American Craft Spirits Association says there are 769. Fashionable, young consumers are happy to pay higher prices for authenticity in their drinks. Distillers are drawn to whiskey and gin, the latter especially appealing because it’s a 10-day process from grain to glass. In 2015, 49 gin distilleries were founded in the UK.

Soft drinks - Fancy a Madagascan cola? Or how about Sicilian lemonade? The success of the UK’s Fever Tree brand, founded in 2005 and expected to report sales of US$150m in 2016, is one example of the premiumization of soft drinks. Brands are looking to distinctive glassware, provenance, new ingredients (such as watermelon, pomegranate, sarsaparilla) to woo consumers.

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