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Alcohol ecommerce is a big umbrella, encompassing online specialist stores (such as wine.com), marketplaces (such as Amazon), the on-demand channel (Drizly, for example), and direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales from producers themselves. China is currently the world’s largest market for alcohol ecommerce—but the United States is set to overtake it by the end of the year, according to Guy Wolfe, strategic insights manager at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.
“The online channel is well-suited to categories where there isn’t strong brand loyalty”—craft beer being a notable example—“because [it] can offer a variety of options as well as lots of information that is critical to [drinkers’] exploration,” Wolfe said in a recent webinar.
DTC is just one slice of the ecommerce pie, but it’s the one that gives producers the most control over their product—it’s a brewery shipping beer straight to the drinker.