The State of Voice in the Alcohol Industry

A deep-dive report

Steff Preyer

Business Director

Last Updated : 30/07/20

Page contents


Introduction to voice in the alcohol industry

With the global rise in voice search and increasing sales of smart speakers, the wine, beer and spirits industry is utilising voice apps to drive customer engagement, leads and sales.

If you haven’t already started looking at voice as a marketing channel for your alcohol brand, some of these statistics might make you pay attention:

  • 55% of households are expected to own a smart speaker device by 2022 (OC&C Strategy Consultants)
  • 44% of regular voice search users order groceries and other items using their voice-activated speaker on a weekly basis (Think With Google)
  • 34% of marketers expect to have a voice app by 2020 (ai)

Some well-known brands such as Diageo, Heineken and Grey Goose have already taken advantage of the rise in voice adoption, but there is still great opportunity for other alcohol brands to leverage this growing trend.

 Key challenges for the alcohol industry:

  • Lack of brand differentiation/loyalty for many brands
  • Less established online presence compared with other industries, for many smaller alcohol brands
  • Lack of consumer insight due to selling via third-party distributors
  • Increasing consumer focus on health & moderation, as well as alcohol-free beers, etc.



Voice Search Performance

The first step in your voice optimisation strategy should be checking how your website performs for informational queries, e.g. “how many units in a bottle of wine”, “pubs near me”, etc.

The Google Assistant has recently become far better at answering queries about alcohol, with its ability to answer improving from 63% to 90% between Q1 and Q2 2019.

This is mainly due to the Google Assistant returning more recipe actions for cocktail recipe queries, e.g. “gin fizz cocktail”


Actions & Skills

Actions (on the Google Assistant) and skills (on Alexa) are voice-enabled apps which extend the built-in functionality of these voice assistants. While optimising your website for voice can provide a one-way snippet of information, actions and skills can allow brands to create two-way conversations with their consumers and can help them to perform tasks and activities.

Use case ideas

Use case idea 1: Personal sommelier

A voice assistant with a vast knowledge of varietals, food and wine pairing, as well as answering questions about how wine is made, best wine regions in the world, etc. Could be used to create personalised lists of wines you like/don’t like and/or integrate with add-to-cart functionality.

Useful for: people who don’t know what types of wines are best suited to their tastes/meal, as well as more experienced wine drinkers looking to expand their knowledge

Use case idea 2: Drinks delivery

Once-off account linking will enable you to order drinks hands-free at any time of the day and authorise payment via your voice.

Useful for: Anyone entertaining at home who hasn’t had time to pick up drinks, or has run out. Could be used while on the way home (in the car / on public transport) or using a smart speaker at home

Use case idea 3: Cocktail recipes

Step a by step cocktail recipes, teaching users how to make their favourite cocktails at home. Browse by ingredient or spirit type. Could integrate with shopping lists to buy the necessary ingredients and allow users to save their favourite recipes.

Useful for: Anyone looking to expand their cocktail repertoire

    Personal sommelier demo (no sound)


Amazon / Google 1st party

Alexa Voice Shopping: When you make a voice purchase request, e.g. “Alexa, buy wine”, Alexa searches through Prime-eligible items from your order history. If an item is available, Alexa tells you the item name and price. Additional details about that item are available in the Alexa app. To place orders, you’ll need an Amazon Prime membership and a valid payment method.


Existing Alexa Skills & Google Actions

A number of brands have already created voice apps in the space. Several different approaches have been used including vertical level content (The Bar) while others at an individual brand level (Talisker Tasting Experience).

Overall more brands have released on the Alexa platform over the Google Assistant.  No brands have launched on both platforms with the same execution.


Talisker Tasting Experience

An audio journey to learn more about the brand

Scotch Whiskey Quiz by Inside the Cask

Test your whiskey knowledge

The Bar by Diageo

Your personal bartender, recommending cocktail recipes and teaching mixology techniques (designed for the Echo Show)

Virgin Wines Advisor

Learn which wine you should pair with your dinner

The Sipping Room by Grey Goose

Learn how to make vodka cocktails

The Wine Connoisseur

Fun facts to elevate you from wine novice to expert

Wente Wines

Learn the basics of tasting, then taste one or all three wines, discussing the aromas and flavor profile.


Launching in the summer of 2020 Vinoseleccion Alexa Skill uses an Amazon Pay integration to buy wine.

Sipp Wine

This skill allows you to find out about your sipp wines and get more information about sipp.

Drinkies by Heineken

Delivery of drinks and snacks

The Bartender

Similar to The Bar on Alexa, this action provides step-by-step instructions for making your favourite cocktails using the Google Assistant


  • Simi: Your Personal Bartender on Facebook Messenger (by Diageo)
  • Margot the Winebot on Facebook messenger (by Lidl)


  • Smart Aisle talking shelf – powers the Bottle Genius skill, which assists shoppers in store in their search for the right whiskey


Policy Restrictions


  • Skills that pass certification, but are not suitable for all ages, are assigned Mature or Guidance Suggested ratings. These ratings are displayed on the skill’s detail page in the skill store.
    • Mature: Frequent or explicit references to or images of alcohol
    • Guidance suggested: Infrequent or mild references to alcohol
  • Your skill will be suspended or rejected if it promotes the excessive use of alcohol or underage use of alcohol


  • Actions that facilitate or promote the sale of alcohol or tobacco, or related products, are allowed in countries listed in Google’s Alcohol Adwords policy.
  • All Actions must:
    • Implement account linking and verify user meets legal age requirements
    • Comply with all restrictions or procedures required by an applicable local law
    • These requirements apply to all alcohol beverage products, including wine, beer, spirits, and alcohol kits, and tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, rolling tobacco, and e-cigarettes.
    • Actions that sell alcohol or tobacco cannot use the Food Order Direct Action API to complete transaction.
    • Alcohol and tobacco branded Actions must include age verification at the beginning of the conversation.
    • We don’t allow Actions that promote excessive use of alcohol or tobacco, or use by minors



Main Takeaways

  • At a website level, alcohol companies need to focus on filling content gaps by gaining Answer Box results, optimising Google My Business listings (if a brick-and-mortar company) and optimising recipe content to be pulled into recipe actions
  • When it comes to creating two-way conversations through actions & skills, some well-known brands have entered the field, but there is still great opportunity to create useful voice apps. Launching an action or skill will generate invaluable insights into how consumers interact with your brand. Some use cases include:
    • Create regular brand engagement in the home, by providing expertise to help consumers understand your field (be that wine, beer, cider or spirits). Guide them towards your brand where relevant
    • Generate leads through in-store/event activations, providing personalised recommendations and guiding the user towards a product purchase
    • Drive sales through voice-activated alcohol purchasing and delivery, and leads through sample delivery



Want to learn more? Get in contact with the Rabbit & Pork team about voice strategy, workshops or building a voice app


Get in contact

Steff Preyer

Business Director

Previously an Account Director at ROAST, Steff joined Rabbit & Pork to help brands understand the potential for Voice Search and defines use cases to drive maximum impact for awareness, retention and revenue.
Rabbit & Pork are part of TIPi Group