Iconic Australian beer Victoria Bitter launched a beer-inspired tea for Australian cricket fans to consume while watching The Ashes cricket series. The campaign is lighthearted but nevertheless presents some promising and innovative routes for the tea sector.

The limited-edition VB Tea is non-alcoholic and made with Victoria Bitter’s signature blend of hops. Given that Australian sports lovers are often required to stay up late or wake up early in the morning to watch the cricket series when televised from the UK, the product gives them a viable alternative to beer that still reminds them of the classic brew.

The hot drinks category is not renowned for exceptionally exciting or dynamic innovation, yet there is evidence that consumers still seek novelty when shopping for these products. According to GlobalData’s 2018 Q4 survey, almost one-fifth (19%) of global consumers often experiment with new or different varieties of hot drinks, while an additional 25% of consumers sometimes try new varieties when they want to try something new. Tea products that are inspired by alcoholic drinks have the ability to inject excitement and indulgence into hot drink consumption.

Notably, the reverse also applies with regards to opportunities in alcoholic drink innovation. As alcohol-free alternatives to beer, wine and spirits increasingly appeal to health-conscious consumers, there is a growing demand for options beyond standard fizzy drinks and juice. Indeed, GlobalData’s 2018 Q3 survey found that 45% of global consumers are interested in sophisticated or adult-style soft drinks as alternatives to alcoholic drinks. Products that leverage the authenticity and often complexity of tea can elevate a non-alcoholic drink to something more refined.

Beer and tea ostensibly have little in common but in reality, each category could stand to gain significantly by leveraging attributes from the other.

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