Spokesperson: Jo Taylorson, head of marketing and product management, Kingsland Drinks

Features & Interviews


The drinks industry is facing challenges from all angles, from global disasters affecting local supply chains, and turbulence from soaring materials and duty costs, to changes in personal alcohol consumption and a tough economic climate businesses and consumers are grappling with. However, with the right understanding of insights, product development, clear communication and appealing branding and design, drinks producers and suppliers can tune in to the opportunities 2024 offers.  

As an industry we need to be agile and stay ahead of the game, to give consumers choice, value and flexibility at affordable prices at a time when every penny and purchase counts. Critically, brands, producers and manufacturers need to prove value to justify price increases and keep the consumer committed to purchase and continuing to climb the price ladder.  

Areas for optimism include alternative formats and concern for the environment, lower abv drinks and mindful drinking, new flavour trends,  convenience, and value for money.  

Jo Taylorson, head of marketing and product management at Kingsland Drinks, shares insights on the key areas to watch out for in 2024, looking at incoming drinks trends in wine, spirits, RTDs and no and low alcohol.  

Flexible formats  

Wine faces the challenge that it is quite a traditional category, with glass bottles being the most widely accepted format. But bag in box wines are in good growth as consumers realise and embrace the benefits the format brings to drinking occasions.  

Bag-in-box wines have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, predominantly due to changes in lifestyles, budgets and circumstances. Bag-in-box has seen a surge in demand as casual at-home drinkers have recognised the benefits in terms of convenience, freshness, quality and value for money. Plus, bag in box is lightweight, helps prevent wastage and the wine can stay fresh for up to six weeks.    

At Kingsland Drinks, we have taken some of our most popular wines into the bag in box format and several of our customers have diversified into the format too to tap into the opportunity.  

In fact, our site at Irlam now operates on a 180 million litre filling capacity on our lines, spanning various formats from 187ml to 1.5L, 2.25L and 3L boxed wines, no and low spirits, spirits, and red, white and rosé wines.   

No and low alcohol drinks  

As health concerns continue to grow and consumers double down on mindful activities, no and low alcohol drinks are here to stay. Contemporary drinkers are moving away from sweet, sugary alcohol-free wines or spirits, and looking for satisfying, stylish grown-up drinks that don’t compromise on taste. In the past, non-alcoholic drinks were an option for those who do not drink alcohol, such as designated drivers or pregnant people, but this is no longer the case and looking to 2024, we expect these drinks to become even more mainstream, with creative zero alcohol spirits (such as tequila), RTDs and wine-based drinks using botanicals, herbs and spices, citrus and exotic fruits.  

We work closely with our brand partners on research and development into no and low alcohol wines and spirits – from liquid development, branding, bottling, contract packing and logistics. Our technical team offers expert capabilities in no and low alcohol solutions, flavour development, and new product launches, and our production and operations teams can implement and manage the full process from start to finish, or provide support alongside existing suppliers.  

In the can  

Canned RTDs have been met with an explosion of popularity in 2023 and this is set to grow even further in the year ahead. They’ve landed into retail with bright, eye-catching packaging designs, purse-friendly deals and discounts alongside punchier RRPs helping to drive spend and have been embraced by those looking to try new drinks on the market without having to purchase expensive bottles or multiple spirits and mixers.  

Mix Up canned RTDs are perfectly placed to offer consumers great quality at an affordable everyday price in the year ahead. Earlier this year we expanded the range to include three new flavours: Mix Up Coffee Rum & Cola, Pink Gin & Diet Lemonade, and Apple Rum, Lime & Ginger Ale, which have been flying off the shelves and are positioned to win in the current context.  The range is 100 percent developed, created, canned and packed by Kingsland Drinks Group onsite in Irlam, Salford,  by an award-winning flavour team in our onsite lab. The beauty of these products is that the single serve measures encourage trial and experimentation. It is an extremely cost-effective way for consumers to try new flavours, products and brands, plus they’re portable, making them ideal for taking to parties, or for enjoying on-the-go on the way to events and festivals. Watch this space for further new product developments in the spirits space in 2024. 

Sustainable sips  

Sustainability will continue to be a key focus in 2024 as brands and consumers become more environmentally conscious. Brands highlight their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, use eco-friendly packaging, or support conservation initiatives to help build brand credibility and awareness. These stories resonate with consumers who want to make a positive impact through their purchases. 

Our Australian wine brand, The Hidden Sea, as an example, has a compelling but simple story – for every bottle consumers buy, The Hidden Sea remove 10 plastic bottles from the world’s oceans and rivers.  

100 percent home grown, Ten Locks’ Pod Pea Vodka is the first vodka made from peas and is built with sustainability at its heart. Pod Pea Vodka was created with the guiding principle to source everything – where humanly possible – locally (Manchester), which cuts emissions typically generated from bringing ingredients and materials together. It is made from 100% British peas from the beautiful farms of Somerleyton Estate in Suffolk, before being fermented and distilled at our bespoke copper still, Manchester Still.  

The vodka is bottled in vessels made from transition glass, which is glass before it is turned into flint. By skipping this step in the processing, it allows for less waste.  

The labels are printed on wood-free, FSC-certified paper, with no plastics and foils, and the team are currently exploring ways to make the cork 100% compostable.  

Flavour of the month 

Our onsite NPD team constantly researches and tests new flavour combinations, profiles and liquids. In 2024, we’re confident vodka will continue to grow, as gin consumers shift categories, and that rum will still be the darling at home but work even harder to pave the way for darker spirits like whisky. Equally, tequila’s stronghold will start to very much take hold.   

Our insights team expects to see Asian flavours such as yuzu, citrus notes such as pink grapefruit, and florals such as blossom, rose, and hibiscus to come to the fore in 2024, coupled with a surge in new drinks launches containing well-known classic ingredients such as coffee, ginger, cherry, elderberry and mint and smoky flavours in aromatic cocktails, ciders and spirits.