Monthly Archives: January 2021

Drinking to the Future: What’s Trending in 2021

As 2021 gains momentum from the burning flames of 2020, the team at BTI wanted to gather and share some trend predictions for the coming year (not included in said predictions: whatever horrific event is unfolding in the photo above).

In spirits:

  • Prices for collectable offerings will rise as consumers have been drinking through their stash and clamor to re-up.
  • Boutique spirit brands will continue to grow in popularity as consumer thrill of discovery becomes more fervent.
  • Liqueur sales will continue to rise as at-home bartending continues and consumers crave more complexity in their cocktails.

In wine:

  • Greater consumer interest in East Coast wines due to 2020’s wildfires and recent tariffs.
  • Unfounded “natural” wine claims will receive stronger backlash as consumers become more savvy and demand more transparency.

In beer: 

  • Continuation of the slow, yet steady, rise of non-alcoholic options.
  • Hard seltzer isn’t going away any time soon, and has great potential to displace more “actual beer” sales.

In behavior: 

  • E-commerce is here to stay.
  • Cocktail delivery will maintain popularity. Consumers will want to continue developing what feel like more personal relationships with their favorite bars/bartenders and there are more opportunities for brand partnerships and brand-building, both with consumers and trade.
  • As more of the population becomes vaccinated, consumers will throw caution to the wind and gravitate towards on-premise offerings. A roaring 20s celebration reminiscent of that following the end of the 1918 flu will result in mass consumption as well as mass conversion of non-drinkers to drinkers.
  • Tired of months of home mixology, the 2021 consumer will be open to new offerings as well as new combinations and beverage innovation will continue at a record pace.
  • Continued interest in non-alcoholic offerings will sustain for 5-10 years.

2021 Winners of BTI’s Annual Packaging Competition

While Beverage Testing Institute’s beverage evaluations occur year-round, our highly anticipated packaging competition is held only once annually.

To determine the year’s best packaging submissions, we assemble a diverse group of experts: distributors, buyers, beverage directors, and designers with keen eyes for contemporary form and key insight on what draws consumer attention. Each panelist conducts a solo evaluation, taking time to consider each product individually and independently of any others within a given submission category.

The following design categories are evaluated for each product:

Creativity  Fresh and original concepts and execution

Graphic Design  Images, text, and arrangement thereof

Form  Shape, texture, and mass

Style  Relationship of the package elements to the character of the products and its projected image

Functional Innovation Technological, pragmatic, and design breakthroughs

The panelists enter detailed observations and rank entries along a scale for each of these design categories. Once evaluations have been completed, BTI’s proprietary analysis methodology software aggregates the data and determines the winners of that year’s packaging championships.

As the pandemic continues to put a pause to on-premise sales, the importance of beverage alcohol packaging design is more crucial than ever. Consumers are making quick decisions at off-premise locations or adding to their virtual shopping carts after a quick swipe-and-glance, and it is only in these short moments that a brand has the opportunity to capture attention. And so, without further ado, here are the winners of Beverage Testing Institute’s 2021 Packaging Competition.




After a year like 2020, we’re buying our suds by the case. Mighty Swell Spiked Seltzer‘s case series uses a “nice combination of lettering and photo-real fruit” resulting in “of-the-moment” graphic design with mouthwatering details. Cans have to stand for themselves too, and Tolago Hard Seltzer‘s use of “cute and cool” imagery is sure to be a tractor beam to thirsty buyers.



While we fantasize about the day we can return to swirling wines by the glass on our favorite patio, we want to like how our purchased bottles look on our dining room table cum work-from-home desk cum remote learning station. Designed by VINT Studio, the wine bottles from Cooper’s Hawk were impressive across the board. Their Trocken Riesling label’s winning “modern” color combo of lime green foil and navy blue “will stand out and be enticing to buyers,” their “festive” Scarletto bottle’s “elegant” typography “overdelivers for the price point,” and their LVE’s “practically holographic” label “brings the image to life” (with said image being John Legend, who I’m sure most of us would love to share a bottle of wine with).


When it comes to a well-executed classic design, the Gecaj Estate 2016 Owner’s Choice has a “good weight” to reflect its quality, the Lescombes Pistol Pete’s Crimson Legacy is “understated” and “classy,” and Broadside‘s 2017 Blackletter Cabernet Sauvignon fully “achieved the rustic vibe.”


Our panelists also loved the “nice, modern, new-world” labels of Alamos, and felt that its “lovely” illustration “evokes the country and vineyard,” which is definitely where we can pretend to be while we sip it. Sometimes you want to try multiple offerings from a producer all at once, and cohesion in design matters! The FUN WINE Hard Bubbly Collection has a “clever exuberant anime design” that’s sure to turn heads, and the Perfect Wines series uses negative space for “simplicity that really works.”




As we continue to improve our at-home cocktail game, we want to reach for pours that still make happy hour feel special. If you’re starting the new year dry, Ritual Zero Proof‘s offerings are “clear and concise” and upon seeing them one of our experts exclaimed “these bottles look GREAT, I would buy them immediately.”

We loved the “memorable and striking” design of NEFT Vodka‘s “homage to family roots” and Verak‘s “totally unique top-shelf” design “radiates class.”

Boukman and Fid Street Hawaiian Gin both have “lovable” and “unique” design, Saint Liberty Bertie’s Bear Gulch has stand-out shape and imprint, and the YaVe Tequila bottle is “durable and functional” and ready to be back in bars as soon as the world is.


Because we are all craving a little getaway, the RTD series lineup from CANTEEN Spirits “nailed it” with their “adventure-on-the-go” vibes that “people will love drinking in their hiking boots.”

Both Two Chicks Cocktails and Bristow Gin have eye-catching details that will “stand out on the shelf” and Ólafsson Icelandic Gin‘s “inviting, intricate, and unique” label will transport you to a faraway dream.