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How does a whiskey brand compare to a non-alcoholic alternative?

There’s No Bender September, Sober October, Dry November, Dry December, Dry January and even Dry July – half the year is branded to encourage drinkers to go alcohol-free.

With growing support and mounting research for the sober curious movement, a new wave of trendy and tasty alcohol alternatives are popping up on shelves. To understand how these new products are positioning themselves as an alternative to traditional liquors, we compared the language used on social media by an alcohol brand and a non-alcoholic competitor.

To uncover these social insights, we analyzed the language of Instagram photo captions from the past year, comparing Jack Daniels to Kin Euphorics. Text analysis can show us how newer products are carving out a sector of their own while also taking on one of the country’s most profitable industries.

Jack Daniels

Founded in 1875 in good old Lynchburg, Tennessee, Jack Daniels positions its product as a time-tested, authentic whiskey. Using words like ‘classic’ and ‘original’ to create an aura of history, Jack Daniels adds to its brand perception as a genuine and established product.

Jack Daniels’ social media activity emphasizes the texture and flavor of its whiskey. We found the brand uses adjectives like ‘smooth’ and ‘refined’ to describe its product, fuelling a perception of sophistication and beauty. We also found Jack Daniels repeatedly using the word ‘bold’ to describe its whiskey.

Kin Euphorics

Kin is a non-alcoholic brand that uses adaptogens, nootropics and other supplements that can affect the mind and body through relaxation or increased cognitive function. This sensory reaction can be found in the brand’s social media communications, highlighting its stress-relieving properties. Words like ‘feeling’ and ‘mood’ are used to describe the product, drawing similarities between the effects of alcohol and this non-addictive alternative.

As an alternative for those who abstain from consuming alcohol or those simply looking to live a healthier life, Kin emphasizes the wellness aspects of its product. The brand even created a campaign encouraging its own month of healthy living called Blisstober. This is where Kin sets itself apart from Jack Daniels and other liquors, which can have negative effects on the mind and body.

Further cementing its position as a wellness product, Kin promotes mental health as well as physical. The brand connects its product to spiritual practices like prayer, meditation and daily wellness rituals – even referring to their customers as ‘kindred spirits.’

As a brand targeting younger generations, Kin often discussed social issues such as Black Lives Matter and feminism through their Instagram account. Jack Daniels also posted in support of the BLM movement during widespread protests in June, but we found Kin to continue the conversation beyond a single post through its #KinActivism campaign.

Kin separates itself from liquor brands by positioning their products as healthier alternatives for the mind and body while also engaging in direct competition through its claims of sensory reaction. On the other hand, Jack Daniels relies on the history and reputation of the brand to keep customers coming back.

For many people, nothing can truly replace a nice glass of whiskey, but on days when it’s best to avoid a hangover, alcohol alternatives are there to serve as a substitute.

Give us a call to see what we can do with your data, or contact us using the form below – it is 2020, after all.