Top ten trends of the last ten years: 1. The internet

In our final installment of the greatest changes in drinks since db was launched in July 2002, we consider the impact of the internet.

Although invented well before db was even conceived, let alone first printed, its impact on the trade has been felt most powerfully over the last ten years.

Since our arrival in July 2002, the medium has allowed brand owners and producers to connect directly with the estimated 2.2 billion people using websites and social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, which began in 2004 and 2006 respectively, and their equivalent in China, Sina Weibo (which was launched in 2009 and has over 300 million users).

Moreover, the internet has encouraged the launch of niche online-only drinks merchants and fine wine traders. No one it seems is too small to take part in internet trading – as well as larger operations with vast ranges, such as Slurp.

The web has also precipitated the rapid sell-through of stock through flash sale sites in North America such as Wine.Woot, or Lot18, now the biggest in the US, although no longer operating in the UK too.

It has ushered in an era of price transparency, formalised by wine-searcher.com, while increasing the power of wine consumers, who can share their views through blogs, forums and comment boxes.

For example, CellarTracker, created in 2003 by former Microsoft programmer Eric LeVine, has allowed drinkers and wine collectors – as well as critics – to post their own reviews, and now carries over 1.5 million tasting notes.

The web has catapulted drinks trade figures into the spotlight. An illustration of this was Wine Library TV, a video podcast by Gary Vaynerchuk, a New Jersey wine retailer. Launched in 2006, it attracted over 90,000 viewers at its peak.

Gary Vaynerchuk

More recently, the combination of smartphone technology and the internet has proved compelling: QR codes on labels allow people to connect the online and offline worlds wherever they are, simply by taking a picture with their phone.

As for db, the magazine launched thedrinksbusiness.com in July 2003, which is now complemented by dbtv for video interviews, as well as our own YouTube channel, Facebook presence and Twitter stream.

We also featured a working QR code as a cover back in July 2010, at least a year before such symbols started to creep onto drinks labels.

The other nine trends affecting drinks over the last ten years can be linked to below:

2. China

3. The rise of rosé

4. Sparkling wine

5. Premiumisation

6. Environmentalism

7. Fine wine

8. The wine closure debate

9. Anti-alcohol sentiment

10. The Pinots

And finally…

There are of course many other developments that stand out during the course of db’s history, but which haven’t quite made the top ten, either due to their lack of scale or scope. These include the Magners phenomenon, the soaring popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Argentine Malbec, and the clamouring from American 20-somethings for German digestif Jaegermeister.

 

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