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The Top UK Drinks Trend of 2019… Are These Some of the Most Innovative Brands in the Drinks Industry Today?

February 26, 2019 by Tom Bronock


A big new trend has hit the UK and it has gathered pace really quickly.

Premium drinks in aluminium cans such as wine, cocktails and water have turned the UK drinks industry upside down over the last six months. The canned bevvy has been around for a few years in the USA and true to form, as with the majority of trends, the pragmatic British have waited to see how it has worked out. In short… it’s worked out well; in the States canned beverages are already a multi-million pound industry and growing.

Why are Cans on the Up?

Cans have several benefits: they cool rapidly, compared to any other packaging; they are lightweight, and easy to transport; the material is infinitely recyclable; the taste is preserved and undamaged from sunlight… the reasons to shift the status quo become more and more compelling as you read them.

And there are some hero products.

In the case of the CanO Water (yep – you guessed it, mineral water in a can) who took a huge leap of faith in 2016, the brand realised a very real problem and decided to do something about it. The relationship between water and single use plastic has ticked along for decades, systemically contributing to a global epidemic of plastic waste in the environment. CanO Water created a brand that had a solution, despite the Everest challenge. From humble beginnings in 2016, with 2,000 cases sold, they forecasted 260,000 in 2019.

Is it a Fad?

The backlash on plastic has a full head of steam and cans are the obvious choice to replace single use plastics for beverages, as well as nudging glass out of the way to be the number one packaging for drinks. There seem to be too many benefits to ignore. Time will tell…

Canned drinks, and in particular wine, is a very, very big deal in the USA. In fact it’s a £50 million dollar business according to Forbes. In the UK, the opportunity is huge, particularly as we have a world class outdoor events industry that, according to a new white paper authored by outdoor events specialist The Fair, is worth £5.7 billion to the UK. Innovative canned products (especially alcohol) will have an unstoppable market in the outdoor arena.

Out of this trend, some trailblazing industry innovators have quickly produced some amazing products you would not normally associate with cans – English sparkling wine, artisan cocktails, Bloody Marys….

Premium canned drinks are going to boom in the UK over the next few years and we have listed the Top New Canned Products on the market. See below for companies making the drinks industry rock.

Switchle – Adult Soft Drink Innovators

Dubbed a ‘curiously-crafted’ fermented soft drink, Switchle is based on a 17th century north American drink of water, honey, apple cider vinegar and ginger, popularised by colonial farmers who drank it whilst harvesting hay in summer to keep them invigorated, energised and hydrated.

The result of Switchle’s modern take are three organic, certified, sparkling spring water blends of revitalising botanical extracts, fruit juices and invigorating apple cider vinegar sweetened with a touch of honey. With bang on-trend flavours such as matcha, lime & mint; turmeric, ginger & peach and rooibos, raspberry & pomegranate, they have created their own niche in the booming adult soft drink category with a growing number of on-trade listings. Switchle are also stocked in retailers like Abel & Cole and Wholefoods.

 CANO WATER – Mineral Water Innovators

Started by three friends after seeing a plastic bottle strewn beach in Thailand, CanO Water is the antidote to single use plastic. The super sleek packaging, and the fact it has listings with national retailers like the Soho House Group and super premium outlets such as Selfridges and Wholefoods, show that CanO Water are leading the wave of canned beverages currently on the market.

Crude Nitro – Cold Brew Coffee Innovators

“From the start, we wanted our actions to speak louder than our words. When you call yourselves “Crude” rather than “pure and honest” or something similarly suggestive, you really need to demonstrate your ethics and credibility”.

“Our most significant success to-date was working out how to safely create an ambient, shelf-stable, nitro cold brew in a can, that didn’t compromise on flavour or quality. Achieving this gave us the perfect product to demonstrate Crude brand values”.

Ace + Freak – Cocktail Innovators

Ace + Freak was founded by 6 friends from East London with a shared love of music and great drinks.  Their goal was to match every great moment with a great drink. The recipes were developed by founding partner Tom Soden – mixologist, consultant and owner of the infamous Nine Lives in London Bridge.

With over 15,000 hours experience making cocktails in some of the world’s best bars, Tom has put all this experience in to a can, so you can enjoy it anywhere.  Ace + Freak only contains 100% natural ingredients –  pressed juices, fruit purees and natural extracts alongside carefully selected craft spirits, wines and vermouths.  Tasty A+F cocktails in a can that you can enjoy in the moments that matter – at a festival, BBQs in the park or watching the sunset on the beach.

Bloody Drinks – Bloody Mary Innovators

Premium, premixed Bloody Drinks Bloody Marys in a can… what’s not to love? A painstaking, batch crafted recipe, creates three tasty variants – The Bloody Classic, The Bloody Samurai and The Virgin. We see this becoming something of a hit, particularly on the festival circuit where finding a decent Bloody Mary can be a tough ask.

Balan’s Aqua Spritz – Alcoholic Sparkling Water Innovators

Balan’s Aqua Spritz… not heard of it? That’s because it’s a UK first, and is a revolutionary alcohol infused sparkling water with a hint of fruit taste. Flavours available are lime and mandarin, and the product has only 60 calories per serving.  This will almost certainly be a hit with its low calories and sugar.

The Uncommon – English Sparkling Wine Innovators

The founders have brought lauded English Sparkling into the canned format, once again with beautiful branding. As the UK’s first sparkling wine in a can, the boys at The Uncommon are first to market in the UK for this sector and are hoping to tap into a massive industry in the USA and across the New World. The grapes are grown and handpicked across the South of England from Hampshire to Kent and the wine is vinified in their winery in Surrey.  Their debut release was a delicious 2017 lightly sparkling dry white made from Bacchus grapes, which is joined this year by an English Pinot Noir Rosé. Delish.

Wild Fizz Kombucha – Adult Soft Drink Innovators

We love Wild Fizz Kombucha, because the brand is bringing unique flavour to the age old fermented tea drink. Flavours such as ginger, turmeric and black pepper & blood orange are going to bring this category to the mainstream. Its organic, tastes great and is bang on trend in its aluminium cans…

Nice – Premium Wine Innovators

Nice is a brand of high quality, still wine in cans that consumers should be proud to be seen with. Available in Pale Rosé & Sauvignon Blanc slimline cans, they have great design, amazing wine and a funny and relatable tone of voice. It seems Nice Wine intends to lead the disruption of the UK wine category.

We expect this trend to explode over this year and 2020 as more and more innovative drinks are produced in cans. What is clear though, is that the brands leading the way in this article are the true innovators in this space and the ones who are paving the way for a more convenient and sustainable drinks industry. Particularly in the UK’s multi-billion pound outdoor events industry, innovative canned products will be a game changer…


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