Alcoholic flavors have been traditionally found in chocolate confectionery, but are now moving to soft drinks, dairy, ice cream and hot drinks. The resulting products have an adult and sophisticated appeal, whilst adding versatility to a product that would normally be only consumed in specific occasions.

For instance, wine-flavored soft drinks are an illustration of a product adaptable to a range of contexts. Belvoir Fruit Farms recently launched “wine without the hangover” soft drinks in Shiraz, Chardonnay and Rose flavours. Belvoir’s alcohol free wines potentially pair better with a formal meal than traditional soft drinks thanks to the wine bringing and air of sophistication – so the brand is extending its consumption occasions.

Wine flavors can also be used in other categories, including hot tea and hot coffee, to keep consumers engaged with unexpected flavors. Recent launches include the world’s first red wine-infused coffee, produced by Molinari Private Reserve in partnership with Peete’s Coffee.

Tea’s versatility allows manufacturers to capitalise on “wine-based” recipes, appealing to wine and tea connoisseurs alike, and giving their product a sophisticated twist.  Mokate has launched red wine and white wine tea varieties in Poland to this effect.

The ice-cream category is reaching out to adult consumers through new product developments based on different combinations of alcoholic drinks and desserts.

Examples include the “Frozen Pint” from The Ice Cream Company, which features beer flavors – pale ale, stout, IPA and brown lager. In Australia, Regal Cream Products focused on liquor-based recipes launching a “Bailey’s liquor infused ice cream with a dark Belgian chocolate sauce” in order to appeal to consumers who prefer familiar foods, whilst attracting those looking for something new.

The cheese market continues to see several wine-inspired launches, but it is now moving beyond grapes and exploring beer and cider-inspired innovations to engage beer and cider lovers. For instance, the English Ale Cheddar Cheese with Mustard marketed under the Trader Joe’s brand capitalized on the popularity of craft beer in the USA. In the UK, Waitrose enticed beer lovers to its deli aisles with a cheese, the “Duvel Belgian Beer Cheese”, which features a distinct hop character.

Cross-category migrations represent an important source of innovation for food and drink producers though which they can refresh interest in mature categories by offering new ways for consumers to enjoy conventional products.