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Master of Malt reveals top 2020 drinks trends; appoints new general manager
Jason Hockman
30 January 2020 Multi-award-winning spirits, beer and wine eCommerce platform Master of Malt has revealed its trends to watch for 2020, and announced the appointment of Jason Hockman as General Manager, overseeing the direct-to-consumer operations across parent company, Atom Group.

Master of Malt has revealed its critical trends to watch across drinks eCommerce in 2020 and beyond.

Unveiled at a press event in London, the award-winning online drinks site also revealed revenues climbed 23% in 2019, with the fastest growing categories including Mezcal, spiced rum, and non-bourbon American whiskies.

Mezcal year-on-year volume growth hit 31% vs 2018, a significant acceleration compared to 25% in 2018 vs 2017. Trade accounts have seen the category soar, with volumes climbing 51%, largely driven by smaller names. An interesting observation across both retail and trade is that demand for bottles with the traditional ‘worm’ is declining.

As predicted, rum had a stellar 2019, with volume growth running at 51% over 2018, driven by spiced and flavoured rums. 15 of the top 20 best-sellers in retail were spiced or flavoured.

While bourbon has been in global growth since 2014, Master of Malt has noticed a ramping up of interest in other American whiskies. Sales for styles including rye, corn and single malt soared by 62% last year, and customer excitement, especially around unusual cask types or unconventional ageing techniques, looks set to continue into 2020.

Other categories in significant growth include vodka (+36% year-on-year), Calvados (+40%) and Aquavit (+27%), which is benefitting from distilleries around the world producing their own iterations of the Scandinavian spirit. 

“The increased customer interest in more niche categories confirms the general food and drink trend for new experiences,” says Kristiane Sherry, Master of Malt editor. “What’s different for 2020 is the striking move away from more familiar categories, such as bourbon, into the more fledgling ryes and American single malts, for example.

“Looking to the rest of 2020, tapping into this exploratory nature will be key for harnessing and accelerating growth. With our huge range of genuinely niche and exciting products, we’ll be able to help our trade partners better tap into this, too. We will also use this insight to tailor our content not only to help educate our incredible core of customers, fans and followers, but to continue to boost our SEO and authority rankings, too, which were recently recognised as best in class by analyst Salience.”

To further harness these opportunities for growth, and accelerate the eCommerce platform’s position in the market, Master of Malt has appointed Jason Hockman as General Manager. Jason joined Master of Malt from Tesco in July 2019, and was promoted to General Manager, Direct to Consumer at parent company Atom Group, last month.

The appointment marks a new phase in Master of Malt’s growth. With responsibilities spanning commercial, customer service and product, Jason will spearhead the development of drinks eCommerce innovations across the Master of Malt portfolio, including the extended range, the Trade division, and partnerships including marketplaces.

“I’m thrilled to take up the role of General Manager at an incredibly exciting time not just for Master of Malt, but for direct-to-consumer eCommerce in general,” Jason said. 

“From opportunities in personalisation to doubling down on ways to offer genuine convenience, I am committed to building on the Master of Malt philosophy to shorten the distance to amazing drinks experiences. 2020 looks set to be a stellar year.”