These are strange times in the booze business.Beer is being marketed as a wellness drink to enjoy after a tough workout. Designer soft drinks known as “alcopops” are growing in popularity despite often resembling liquid junk food. The world’s biggest spirits company, Diageo, proudly markets Seedlip, a nonalcoholic, botanical-infused drink for those who eschew alcohol but want a gin-like flavour.Worldwide alcohol consumption fell 1.6% to 27.6-billion cases last year, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, with the blame (or credit, depending on your point of view) being laid on consumers’ desire for healthier lifestyles. But growth is expected to return, with alcohol sales by volume rising 3% over the next five years, driven in part by emerging markets. People are trading up to high-quality products, prompting companies across the sector to trumpet how “premiumisation” will lift profits.But dig deeper and it is clear that changes are afoot that are creating winners and losers in ...

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