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Brands must focus on distinctiveness to survive

Drinks brands have been encouraged to lean into their “point of difference” to attract consumers, as a looming recession and energy crisis causes spending to tighten.

Brands will need to establish their distinctiveness to survive the current spending squeeze in the UK

UK consumers are having to re-evaluate their spending habits due to a combination of factors, including the UK’s current energy crisis and a looming recession.

As a result, consumer spending on alcohol is ‘set to decrease dramatically’, according to drinks company Gunner Cocktails’ Consumer Drinks Wishlist survey, which heard from 262 UK-based respondents.

The marketing director at Cotswolds Distillery, Deborah Carter, expects buyers will turn to high-quality alcohol brands despite having less money to do so, as consumers may not make as many general “big-ticket purchases”, “but they look for other ways to treat themselves such as high quality food and drink”, she said.

“Crucially consumers need to understand why they are paying more, the power of the brand is more important than ever.”

Xavier Baker, co-founder of Mermaid Gin, agreed, noting that consumers are now “more careful and choosy about what they spend on” with increasingly limited funds, and as a result brands must “lean into this”, and make sure their brand’s “point of difference” keeps them at the front of buyers’ minds.

The current financial hardships have seen the hospitality sector and brands in the on-trade struggle. Trade bodies of the sector have voiced ‘very serious concerns’ about the UK government’s £5.5 billion (US$6.7bn) energy scheme to support businesses.

Furthermore, The Drinks Trust opened applications for its Energy Crisis Fund to aid workers in the industry.

Meanwhile, with worsening financial hardship there have been calls for the UK government to launch an urgent inquiry into evidence that energy support is being withheld from hospitality businesses, causing an “increased financial burden”.

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