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How to Get Your Beverage Brand aboard Cruises

BTN takes a look at how beverage brands can expand their distribution to the high seas. Work with a distributor or land a cruise line contract directly and you’ll enjoy a piece of a multi-million dollar floating beverage industry.

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Cruises are estimated to account for approximately one in eight outbound foreign package vacations and in 2015 generated nearly $40 billion in revenue worldwide, including approximately $1 billion worth of food and beverage sales aboard ship. That being said, there is big business to be had if you can get your beverage behind the bar aboard ship.

Alcohol Consumption on Cruises
A 2014 poll by BonVoyage found that the average cruise passenger’s daily alcohol consumption over the course of a single week of sailing included a medley of alcoholic beverages: six beers, a couple of cocktails, a bottle of wine, and two shots of whiskey. By the week’s end, that passenger would have consumed approximately 168 units of alcohol. In other words, eight times the recommended alcohol allowance for men (21 units), and 12 times the allowance for women (14 units). Among cruise goers, this thirsty phenomenon is known as “ship-faced,” and among beverage distributors, it is known as a business opportunity that should not be overlooked.

Alcohol sales policies vary greatly from one cruise line to another. For example, some high-end liners include gratuities as well as all soft drinks and alcohol within their headline fare. Other cruises, however, charge passengers extra for all alcoholic beverages consumed while on board. Most prohibit passengers from bringing their own alcohol aboard, which provides for a captive audience eager to relax with a glass of their favorite drink. 

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