The 4th of July, a day etched in memory for all Americans. (In 1776, it was the day that the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing the colonies' separation from Great Britain and the signing of the Constitution that provides the legal and governmental framework for the United States, for those without access to Wikipedia)

Fast forward to 3.35 pm on a typically wet British summer’s day in 2023, on the Brand Innovation Stage, at MAD//Fest in London’s Truman Brewery - we used this memorable occasion to bring together two great brands and an agency. Lucky Saint, the UK's No.1 dedicated alcohol-free beer brand, Distill Ventures, the world's first independent drinks accelerator, and Quantum, a leading brand activation agency, came together to discuss the impact of evolving consumer attitudes and behaviours and their impact on the drinks industry.

Moderated by me, the all-star cast featured Lou Pollitt, Category Director at Lucky Saint, Sarah Roupell, Consumer & Customer Insight Director at Distill Ventures and Debbie Wheeler, Founder & MD at Quantum.

If you missed the session, you can watch it above, but here are my 5 key takeaways:

1. Younger consumers are moderating differently. Brands now need to re-evaluate the notion of mindful consumption by moving beyond being ‘teetotal’ and simplistic definitions of what a drinker and a non-drinker are to one of positive choice

2. When it comes to Luxury and Premium categories, consumers are really looking for connection and levity. Something to ‘lift their spirits’ and be part of a community that aligns with their values with less emphasis on celebrities and influencers, and purely delivering on product attributes

3. There’s a fight for space. Brands need to innovate more both in the on-trade and off-trade. The requirement to leverage trends and best practices from outside your industry is no longer nice to have - it’s essential!

4. Authenticity Wins. Find out why the world needs you and know who you are for. Keep the main thing the main thing and do it well. Everything else will follow

5. Beyond Lucky Saint and the Distill Ventures portfolio brands, our experts listed three brands that are currently blazing a trail in their respective categories, these are:

+ Plant-based food brand Strong Roots (strong identity & risk taking)
+ Carbon negative brand Two Drifters Rum (sustainability & climate change)
+ Cocktail mix brand Funkin (disruption & innovation)

Click here to watch our MAD//Fest highlights video and get in touch if you’re interested to dig deeper into any of the above discussion points. You can reach me via LinkedIn or via email. I’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Quantum is a brand experience & activation agency producing moments that matter for the world’s most ambitious brands.