By Jon Reay, Founder of Rewrite Digital


Do you own a fledgling drinks brand? Or do you simply have an idea for a bold new beverage that’s yet to pop its cork?

Traditional drinks companies are behind the curve when it comes to digital. If you’re just starting out, you can rapidly grow your presence, engagement and sales in this highly competitive market through smart use of digital technology and business models.


Start with digital

In today’s world, some of the smallest, leanest businesses can attain widespread exposure and appear much more sizeable than they actually are by exploiting digital, competing alongside and winning against long-established, high-staffed operations.

In Rewrite Digital’s latest industry report, most drinks brands admit to being behind the curve in digital. Furthermore, 55% say the drinks industry is lagging behind others.

Leandro Cabrini, Founder & CEO of Wild Yeast Media comments: “The wine industry in particular refuses to adapt, maintaining that everything is (and should be) the way it was 20, 30, 50, 100 years ago.

Research by Accenture suggests that food and drink companies could unlock an estimated £56 billion in value or 12% of the industry’s gross value added (GVA) over the next decade by harnessing digital technologies. New brands starting with digital at their core have a head start in untapping this value.


Challenge old models

Established brands used to get away with merely being present in pubs, bars, restaurants and shops and a splattering of above the line advertising.

This is no longer sufficient or necessary to get your drinks brand chosen by consumers.

And if you’re defining a new category (like Yena member Ellie Webb is doing with alcohol-free spirit Caleño), digital is critical to unlocking awareness and adoption.

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) is a growing route to market but even if you do distribute through the usual trade channels, ‘direct’ is also about nurturing the relationship with buyers and drinkers, engaging them with much more regular interaction than purchasing alone.


Innovate the experience

The most demanding consumers are no longer satisfied by just the contents of the bottle. Regular reinforcement of brands in the right context gives consumers a taste for them. The packaging or glasses, the serve and the environment are all important factors in the experience itself.

But it’s in digital where drinks companies can truly transform the experience consumers have.

Having something new in market may get a spike in attention but with today’s fickle consumers and stiff competition, maintaining that interest is no easy task.

Digital can help drinks brands create the interest of NPD (new product development) without significant impact on cost or time. Adopt a culture that nurtures continual digital innovation to protect long-term sales, brand value and profitability.


Get involved

If you think you have one of the next great spirits brands, Yena have partnered with Distill Ventures who would love to hear from you. Apply for investment.

Learn more about how you can grow your drinks brand with Rewrite Digital’s The State of Digital in Drinks 2019 Report. Join one of their upcoming events to discuss the topics raised in the report with industry peers:

Bristol, 4th June 2019 London, 3rd July 2019


Jon Reay is founder of Rewrite Digital and on the Yena Member Board, helping businesses to elevate the way they look at digital. Prior to this, Jon worked in several digital agencies around the world for seventeen years. He has led pioneering digital and customer engagement strategies for organisations that include William Grant & Sons, Lloyd’s of London, Manchester City FC, Team GB, IKEA, UK Cabinet Office and Tourism New Zealand. Educated in Computer Science at Bristol University, Jon has experience working with a range of digital technologies to which he brings significant value to IT, marketing and business strategies for clients. Jon has written for numerous publications and spoken at events and conferences in Europe and the USA.