The alcoholic beverages market in the APAC region is highly diversified in terms of consumption patterns and products mainly due to differences in tastes and preferences, and in social and cultural behaviors across nations. The market is growing at a healthy pace owing to increase in the demand for premium alcohol. For instance, baijiu, which is the most commonly consumed alcohol in China, is witnessing demand from across the globe. Moreover, the Chinese government is making ample efforts to improve baijiu’s prominence in the international market as the product is important for tourism in China. Due to these factors, the APAC alcoholic beverages market size was valued at $562m in 2018, and is set to grow at a CAGR of 2.9% during the forecast period 2019-2025.

Baijiu Expanding Beyond China

According to the China.Org, the potent beverage, baijiu is one of the most commonly consumed alcoholic beverage in the world. Currently, 99% of the baijiu produced are consumed in China. In recent times, the liquor is being marketed beyond the boundaries of China and attracting distributors and merchants from Europe and the U.S. The increasing exports of baijiu are set to aid growth of the APAC alcoholic beverages market. Additionally, Chinese distillers now want to promote baijiu as the 'new tequila’ for Europeans and Americans, and are selling the concoctions at bars in London, New York and Sydney. Manufacturers are hiring mixologists to experiment with tropical fruits and ginseng in order to reduce the drink’s stomach-burning potency to make it more appealing to consumers. Consequently, China led the APAC alcoholic beverage market with a share of 45% in 2018, and is poised to generate more revenue through export of the product.

Increasing Consumption of Alcohol in India 

In India, increase in the purchasing power of the middle-class population and growth of the urban population are the main reasons leading to increased consumption of alcohol. India is the world’s fastest-growing alcohol market. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in India, the per capita consumption of alcohol accounted for 5.7 liters in 2016. After the industry faced stagnation for a few years, therefore, Indians started to drink and spend more on the premium alcohol due to this the demand for liquor is growing continuously in the country. Furthermore, increasing incidences of eating-out and clubbing among youngsters is driving growth of the APAC alcoholic beverage market. Additionally, increasing work pressure and the resultant imbalanced lifestyles are leading to increased demand for alcoholic beverages in this market.

Spirit Surging the Global Alcohol Consumption

The fastest growing application segment in the alcohol beverage market are spirits, which are estimated to grow at a CAGR of 2.7% through to 2025. According to WHO, 2018 saw total recorded alcohol consumption in the form of spirit touch 44.8% globally, and spirit is also the most commonly consumed beverage in the South-East Asia region. Whisky as a spirit is leading in terms of global consumption in the alcohol market. The demand for the spirit in APAC is expected to witness an upsurge due to the burgeoning bar culture. Additionally, with the change in the lifestyle the drinkers’ preference is inclining towards low alcohol spirit as compared to any other spirit. Change in consumers’ preferences in the region is driving growth of the APAC alcohol beverages market.

APAC Alcoholic Beverages Market: Growth Drivers and Disruptive Trends

·     The Emergence of Online Channels

Increasing utilization of the internet through smartphones to buy groceries are also helping people skip the trips to liquor shops. Online sales of liquor, beer, and wine have increased drastically in recent times. By means of the internet, wine has become the most popular kind of adult beverage. For instance, Drizly Inc., an alcohol e-commerce platform in the U.S. and Canada, and, a Boston-based online retail company, experienced the maximum online sales in 2018. Drizly, despite being a small player in the online alcohol market, its expansion was the major factor that influenced online websites to be launched in the market. E-commerce is starting to see robust due to increasing demand for alcohol online. 

·     Premiumization driving the Alcohol Market

The primary driving factor for this market is rapidly growing demand for premium alcohol in APAC. The immense efforts put by the manufacturers for extension of purchase channels and strengthening of distribution channels such as convenience stores and online shopping is contributing significantly to the growth of the alcohol market in the region. The millennial consumers are basically influencing the growth of the premium alcoholic beverages market. In addition to this, economic growth, product innovation by companies, low calories drinks, and changing consumer preferences is propelling demand for premium products.

·     Japanese Gin Gaining Traction

In recent years, the Japanese gin has gained popularity in the APAC alcohol market. The innovation of craft gin Ki no Bi by Kyoto Distillery is an emerging trend in the region as it is made up of botanical ingredients hinoki wood chips (Japanese cypress), yellow yuzu, Japanese peppercorn, bamboo, and gyokuro tea.  Owing to this, other Japanese brands have stepped in to create similar gin alcohol. For instance, in 2016, Suntory acquired Sipsmith, a London-based gin distillery company. After the acquisition, the new entity in 2017 introduced its own Roku gin range made from botanical ingredients.

The Key Players in the APAC Alcohol Beverages Market   

Key players in the APAC alcoholic beverages market are Suntory Beverage & Food Limited, Carlsberg A/S, Diageo plc, San Miguel Corporation, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, Heineken NV, and SABMiller Plc. These companies have been continuously focusing on R&D investments, acquisitions and partnership strategies to strengthen their product portfolio. For instance, in 2018, Heineken NV signed an agreement with China Resources Beer Holdings Co. Ltd. (CR Beer) and China Resources Enterprise, Ltd. (CRE), wherein Heineken will become a minority partner in CRE Ltd., which controls CR Beer, the undisputed market leader in China’s alcohol beverage market. The major objective behind the partnership is expansion of the Heineken alcohol brand in the market alongside strengthening CR Beers’ offering as a premium brand in the rapidly growing beer segment in China. This agreement will also help accelerate the international growth of CR Beers by leveraging Heineken’s marketing capabilities and global reach. Therefore, such acquisition and partnerships are influencing other companies to invest in the APAC alcohol beverages market. 

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