Graphic by K8 Strassman

Spring Break Is Coming…

ON THE UP: SPRING BREAK

Spring break is coming… and not just for kids and college students. It will truly be a spring break for all of us. Bring on the booze.

In case you missed it, we told you a couple of weeks ago that there’s momentum for champagne as we all start celebrating coming out the other side of this pandemic.

It has been the longest winter hibernation of our lives. Unexpected snowstorms (Texas, our hearts are with you) and annual New Year’s detox plans leading to momentum for Dry January… with all its abstinence and not a drop to drink, life has gotten very antiseptic and clean.

Now there’s momentum for spring break as we all get excited for the much-needed break, warm weather, and retreating COVID-19 rates. We’re booking flights, raising glasses, and popping bottles.

Drinking itself feels new again because we are tired of drinking alone and at home.

This year, with many still not comfortable traveling, spring break will be less a destination and more a state of mind & mental relief. We are looking for reasons to celebrate and have fun — our favorite social lubricant will take us there, no matter where we are.

Iconic brands like LVMH, Jay-Z’s Ace of Spades, Brooklyn Brewery, Tanqueray, Margaritaville, and Kendall Jenner’s new 818 tequilaare leaning into the spring break mood that’s about to be unleashed. Unexpected collabs, new takes on established faves, secret recipe releases, and alcohol-free alternatives that are sure to help us shake our winter blues.

THE TAKEAWAY?

Consumers are ready to move on from the serious & heavy tones of the last 13 months. To breakthrough in the crowded beverage landscape, it’s time to shift from serious to #VacationMentality.

THE DECODE

Here’s how brands are leaning into the momentum for Spring Break.

Disruption: LVMH is mastering the art of investments in “tomorrow.”

First, Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage x Fenty and beauty brand Fenty Beauty. Now LVMH is partnering with Jay-Z with a 50% stake in Jay-Z’s champagne house Ace of Spades. These investments are clear examples of LVMH staying authentic to their luxury heritage while finding unexpected ways to gain cultural relevance.

With Ace of Spades, LVMH is buying “cultural know-how” and entering a new wave of markets not served by its other brands. Mr. Schaus, who manages the Champagne portfolio for Moët Hennessy said to Jay-Z: “In your understanding of the world of tomorrow, we believe you created a new consumer for Champagne.”

Why is the deal mutually beneficial? Jay-Z gains the organizational support and distribution power of a global drinks “machine,” as Mr. Schaus called it. LVMH gains the “clout and lifestyle marketing savvy of a pace-setting Black cultural leader”.

What does this signal for the luxury market at large? While it might seem counterintuitive to focus on Champagne during a pandemic, the partnership between LVMH and Jay-Z signals an optimism about the future of luxury consumption and the post-pandemic attitude of consumers.

Innovation: “Alcohol Free” beverages have been around for years as an option for those who can’t drink alcohol. Now we’re seeing the momentum rise again and increase in sales as it goes through its next evolution: a new option for experimentation and discovery

Throughout quarantine, some were looking for an escape from reality with alcohol. Others are taking it as an opportunity to explore alcohol-free alternatives. In the US, the no/low alcohol beer segment grew over +30% increase in 2020.

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Brooklyn Brewery is leaning into their craft beer pioneer roots to create alcohol-free beers that taste just as good as the alcohol version. They are expanding their non-alcoholic portfolio of Special Effects: first the Hoppy Amber, now their latest release, the IPA. These craft AFBs “bring you all of the bold, bright hop notes you love, without the buzz to slow you down.

Tanqueray is launching their own versions of famous alcohol free spirits, launching a 0.0% alcohol version of its iconic London Dry gin. “Unbelievably alcohol-free, unmistakably Tanqueray.” Anita Robinson, Tanqueray’s marketing director, called the tipple: “a credible alcohol-free alternative that people will recognize as unmistakably Tanqueray.”

Polarization: Tequila, the momentum master of spirits, has been polarizing ever since it was first made in the 1600s and taken by Spanish conquistadors.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of America, tequila volumes have grown 209% since 2002, at an average rate of 6.5% per year. Even with a pandemic, 22.2 million 9-liter cases were sold in 2020.

Decode_M Proprietary MFactor Score

Now 2 new provocative players are following in George Clooney’s footsteps: first Tesla, then the Kardashian / Jenners.

Last week Kendall Jenner announced her latest venture: 818 Tequila. To break the news, Kendall posted on Instagram that she has been working on the brand in secret for almost 4 years. To build the hype and intrigue, Kendall submitted 818 anonymously to a variety of spirits competitions… and won the 2020 World’s Best Reposado title from the World Tequila Awards under the name K & Soda. Few consumers have actually tasted 818 yet, website says “coming soon.”

Since the announcement, Kendall’s 818 sparked heated discussion & debate. Many are excited, others are criticizing it for the following reasons:

  • Questioning whether or not it is real tequila or even a Mexican product
  • Criticizing her for just taste testing the product (vs. creating it end to end)
  • Naming it “818” vs. something that references Mexican culture
  • Claims that “only Mexicans can own tequila brands”

Our challenge to Kendall and 818: What will you do to leverage this polarization & build on your momentum?

Elon Musk and Tesla launched their own line of “Tesla Tequila” in November, making good on Musks’ promise for the company to start selling its own brand of liquor. The Tequila, retailing for $250 on Tesla’s website was “an exclusive, small-batch premium 100% de agave tequila añejo made from sustainably sourced highland and lowland agaves.” It sold out instantly after release. Now, you can buy the bottles on resale for upwards of $1,000.

Stickiness: Iconic brands like Margaritaville and Moët & Chandon are helping consumers make “spring break memories” from home.

In honor of National Margarita Day (Feb. 22) Margaritaville shared the official recipe for their “Parrot Head” margarita.

  • The drink, named after Buffett’s devoted legion of fans who call themselves parrot heads, is a slight variation on the classic margarita, which typically consists of tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. This version blends three types of citrus and is finished with a splash of lemon-lime soda (like Sprite) for some effervescence and sweetness.

Moët & Chandon is celebrating 30 years as the official champagne of the Golden Globes. In honor of the milestone anniversary, Moët has crafted a special champagne cocktail, aptly named, “The Moet Golden Fizz.” To make the cocktail at home, Moët & Chandon haspartnered with Cocktail Courier to offer a limited-edition cocktail kit featuring the Moët Golden Fizz.

Social Impact: For those that are ready… hospitality brands like Wynn Resorts are bringing us back together IRL.

In Las Vegas specifically, Vacationers and spring breakers will soon be “splashing into pools along The Strip and downtown.”Starting March 1, pool clubs in Las Vegas can open at 35% capacity, with expected capacity limits rising to 50% mid March.

  • Guests will need to follow standard health and safety guidelines: Lounge chairs will be spaced 6 feet apart; Masks will be required at all times — unless in the water or actively eating, drinking, or smoking; companies like MGM Resorts are encouraging guests to book lounge chairs, cabanas, and pool access ahead of time.

Wynn Resorts is leading the way, staying authentic to brand: with an announcement this week that Wynn Las Vegas will begin “pool season” March 5 at Encore Beach Club.

ON THE DOWN: BREAD

We’ve moved on!

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Mike Berland

Mike Berland

Momentum Maker, Author of Maximum Momentum, Founder & CEO of Decode_M