How The Pandemic Changed The Way We Drink And What To Expect In 2021

The pandemic upended the rules of the game for the food and beverage scene in 2020. Many drinking establishments had to change the way they run operations. New drinking norms emerged and they look set to change the way we tipple in 2021.

Wine distributors who had traditionally focused on trade sales also found themselves switching to e-commerce. For example, Grand Vin, a fine wine distributor, launched its e-store last November to cater to private consumers.

“Our e-store has been a great success since its launch, and this [online retail] trend will persist in 2021,” said Kate Tan, Grand Vin’s general manager. “Even as the world ‘normalises’ with vaccines, consumers have gotten comfortable with shopping online – they may not stop doing so post-COVID-19, and these were folks who were probably resistant to online purchases before the pandemic.”

The growth of online drinks retail platforms brings more than competitive prices and easier access to unique products for consumers. Ou noted the possible development of ‘white glove service’ or better customer service from the delivery or logistics staff.

Virtual Tastings Are Here To Stay

Drinking at home need not be boring. Drink purveyors have relied on virtual tastings via video conferencing apps like Zoom to connect customers at home with bartenders and winemakers. A tell-tale sign that virtual tastings are here to stay is the arrival of wine-streaming platforms like Vivant, which launched in December. Created by Michael Baum, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Vivant gives its members access to live-streaming experiences with winemakers across the world, with a focus on vintners practising sustainable, organic and biodynamic viticulture. It also offers interactive tasting sessions hosted by its wine advisors.