How to break into the London drinks market with a 3PL service

If you are looking to Tap’in to the London drinks market, you may find it challenging to navigate, to begin with. However, with the help of a reliable third-party logistics service provider (3PL), like us at Tap’in, you could streamline your distribution and focus on growing your business. This article will explore the key strategies for breaking into the London drinks market with a 3PL service. 

Understanding the London drinks market

Key players and trends

The London drinks market is a fascinating and dynamic industry with a rich history dating back centuries. The city has been at the forefront of many drinks trends, from the gin craze of the 18th century to the modern-day obsession with craft beers and artisanal spirits.

Photo of London, UK.

The market is highly competitive today, with established players dominating the scene. To make a mark in this industry, it is essential to understand the market trends and consumer preferences. There is a growing demand for innovative and premium drinks focusing on local ingredients and sustainable production methods. 

Craft beers are also gaining popularity, offering unique flavour profiles and positioning themselves as niche products. These drinks are often produced in small batches, using traditional methods and high-quality ingredients, which appeals to consumers looking for something different from the mass-produced drinks offered by larger brands. 

Craft beers in London.

Consumer preferences and demands

The London drinks market is diverse, catering to a wide range of consumers with varying preferences and demands. Millennials and Gen Z consumers are particularly influential, with a strong preference for authenticity, ethical practices, and health-conscious products.

They are also more likely to engage with brands on social media and try new products based on recommendations from friends and influencers. This has led to the popularity of smaller, independent brands with a strong social media presence that can connect with consumers personally.

Here are some of our favourite craft beer brands on socials:

Stone and Wood:

Stone and Wood Brewery's Instagram.

Toast Ale:

Toast Ale's Instagram.


Sxollie Xider's Instagram.

Consumers are also increasingly interested in the story behind the products they buy. They are willing to pay a premium for drinks with a unique backstory or produced using sustainable and ethical practices. This has led to a rise in the popularity of drinks made using locally sourced ingredients, which not only supports local businesses but also reduces the carbon footprint of the drinks industry.

Locally sourced brewing ingredients.

Challenges and opportunities

The drinks market in London is not without its challenges. Most notably, the cost of doing business in London is high, and competition among brands is fierce. However, there are also significant opportunities for growth, particularly for brands that can offer unique value propositions and differentiate themselves from existing players.

One of the biggest challenges facing drinks brands in London is the logistical difficulty of distribution. With so many small, independent producers in the city, getting drinks to market can be challenging. However, with the help of a 3PL service provider, you can overcome some of these challenges and ensure that your products reach consumers promptly and efficiently.

What is a 3PL service?

Defining third-party logistics

Third-party logistics, or 3PL, is outsourcing logistics and supply chain management functions to a specialised company. A 3PL service provider acts as an intermediary between businesses and their customers, managing the logistics of the supply chain efficiently and effectively.

The 3PL service provider can handle various aspects of a company's logistics, from warehousing to transportation, order fulfilment, and inventory management. A 3PL service provider acts as an extension of your business, providing the necessary expertise and resources to improve your distribution processes.

The use of 3PL services has become increasingly popular in recent years as businesses look to streamline their operations and focus on their core competencies.

Benefits of using a 3PL service

Using a 3PL service provider can bring several benefits to your business. Firstly, it can help you save time and costs in managing your logistics in-house. When you outsource your logistics to a 3PL provider, you gain access to their established network of warehouses, transporters, and technology platforms.

Moreover, a 3PL provider can help you scale your distribution operations as your business grows, providing flexible solutions that suit your changing needs. You can focus on your core business activities while the 3PL provider handles your logistics requirements.

Another benefit of using a 3PL service provider is that they can provide valuable insights into your supply chain, helping you identify areas for improvement and optimisation. This can lead to increased efficiency, reduced costs and improved customer satisfaction.

Benefits of a 3PL.

Developing your drinks brand for the London market

Creating a unique selling proposition

To succeed in the London drinks market, you need to create a unique selling proposition that sets your brand apart from competitors. This can be achieved by focusing on quality, innovation, sustainability, locality, or brand heritage.

Quality is a key factor in the London drinks market. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for high-quality products that deliver on taste and experience. By focusing on quality, you can create a loyal customer base who will keep coming back for more.

Innovation is also a key driver of success in the London market. Consumers are always looking for something new and exciting, so it's important to stay ahead of the curve and offer unique and innovative products.

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the London drinks market. Consumers are more aware of their purchases' impact on the environment and are looking for brands committed to sustainability. By focusing on sustainable practices and packaging, you can appeal to this growing market.

The locality is another important factor in the London market. Consumers are proud of their city and want to support local businesses. By highlighting your brand's connection to London, you can create a sense of community and loyalty among your customers.

Brand heritage is also a powerful tool for creating a unique selling proposition. London has a rich history and culture, and brands that tap into this heritage can create a strong emotional connection with consumers.

Designing eye-catching packaging

Your packaging is an important element of your brand identity, helping to capture consumers' attention and communicate your brand's values. In London's competitive market, investing in eye-catching packaging that reflects your brand's personality and appeals to your target audience is essential.

When designing your packaging, it's important to consider the consumer journey. How will your product be displayed in stores? How will it stand out on shelves? Understanding the consumer journey allows you to design packaging that maximises visibility and appeal.

Colour is an important element of packaging design. Different colours can evoke different emotions and associations, so choosing colours that reflect your brand's personality and values is important.

Typography is another important element of packaging design. The right font can communicate your brand's personality and values while ensuring that your product is easily read and recognised on shelves.

Here are a few of our favourite brand packaging:

Poachers Drinks:

Poachers Drinks packaging.

Lucky Saint:

Lucky Saint Beer packaging.

Stone and Wood:

Stone and Wood beer packaging.

Building a strong brand identity

A strong brand identity is crucial for building brand loyalty and differentiating your product from others in the market. To achieve this, you must develop a consistent visual and verbal brand identity that resonates with your target audience. This includes your brand name, logo, fonts, and colour scheme.

Your brand name should be memorable and easy to pronounce. It should also reflect your brand's personality and values.

Your logo is the visual representation of your brand, so it's important to invest in a high-quality design that reflects your brand's personality and values.

By developing a strong brand identity, you can create a loyal customer base who will keep coming back for more. Your brand will become synonymous with quality, innovation, sustainability, locality, or brand heritage, depending on the unique selling proposition you have created.

Navigating the London drinks distribution landscape

Identifying potential distribution channels

To succeed in the London drinks market, you need to identify potential distribution channels that can deliver your product to your target audience. These include online marketplaces, retail stores, bars, restaurants, and events. Each channel has strengths and weaknesses that you need to consider before deciding.

Online marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, can provide a wide reach and access to customers who cannot find your product in physical stores. However, competition can be fierce, and you may need to invest in marketing to stand out among the many products available.

Amazon distribution.

On the other hand, retail stores can provide a more personal touch and allow customers to interact with your product before making a purchase. However, getting your product on the shelves of major retailers can be a challenge, and you may need to negotiate with them to secure shelf space.

Distribution via retail stores.

Bars and restaurants can be a great way to get your product in front of potential customers in a social setting. However, you may need to work with the establishment to create a signature cocktail or menu item featuring your product to entice customers to try it.

London hospitality.

Events like food and drink festivals can provide a great opportunity to showcase your product to a large audience. However, the costs of participating in events can add up quickly, and you may need to consider which events are worth the investment carefully.

Drinks festivals.

Establishing relationships with key industry players

Building strong relationships with key industry players can help you gain access to new distribution channels and expand your reach. Wholesalers, distributors, and retailers are all important players in the London drinks market, and you need to establish relationships with them to succeed.

Industry associations can also be valuable partners, as they can provide insights into the latest market trends and help you connect with other players in the industry.

Influencers like bloggers and social media personalities can also help you reach new customers and build brand awareness. By partnering with influencers who have a large following in the drinks industry, you can tap into their audience and potentially gain new customers.

One of our current favourite influencers is Megan Stone!

Megan Stone's Instagram.

Leveraging 3PL services for efficient distribution

A 3PL service provider can be instrumental in streamlining your distribution processes, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. They can help you manage your inventory, reduce order cycle times, and provide real-time tracking and reporting.

Additionally, a 3PL provider can help you expand your distribution network by providing access to their established facilities and transporters. This can be especially valuable if you are looking to expand your reach beyond London and into other parts of the UK or even internationally.

When selecting a 3PL provider, it's important to consider factors such as their experience in the drinks industry, technology capabilities, and pricing structure. Choosing the right provider ensures that your distribution processes are as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

Marketing your drinks brand in London

Utilising digital marketing strategies

Digital marketing is a cost-effective and efficient way to reach your target audience in London. This can include social media marketing, email marketing, paid advertising, and content marketing. You can build brand awareness and generate leads by creating engaging and informative content that resonates with your target audience.

When it comes to social media marketing, it's important to identify which platforms your target audience is most active on. For example, if you're targeting a younger demographic, platforms like Instagram and TikTok may be more effective than Facebook or LinkedIn. You can also use social media to run targeted ads, promote your content, and engage with your followers.

Social media apps.

Email marketing is another effective way to reach your target audience. By building an email list and sending regular newsletters or promotional emails, you can keep your audience up-to-date with your latest products and offers. Ensuring your emails are well-designed and include clear calls to action to encourage conversions is important.

Paid advertising can also be an effective way to reach your target audience. Platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads allow you to target specific demographics and interests and track the performance of your ads in real time. This can help you refine your targeting and improve your ROI over time.

Paid advertising for drinks industry.

Finally, content marketing involves creating informative and engaging content that provides value to your target audience. This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and more. By creating high-quality content that addresses your audience's pain points and interests, you can build trust and establish your brand as an authority in the industry.

Participating in industry events and trade shows

Participating in industry events and trade shows is an excellent way to build brand awareness and establish credibility within the industry. This can provide valuable opportunities to showcase your products, network with potential partners and customers, and gain insights into the latest trends and developments in the market.

When choosing which events and trade shows to participate in, it's important to consider your target audience and the type of event that would be most relevant to them. 

At these events, it's vital to ensure your booth or stand is eye-catching and well-designed and that your staff are knowledgeable about your products and able to engage with attendees in a friendly and approachable manner. You can also consider offering samples or promotions to encourage attendees to try your products.

Collaborating with influencers and local partners

Working with influencers and local partners can help you reach a wider audience and build brand credibility through word-of-mouth marketing. This can include partnering with local bars and restaurants, sponsoring events, and collaborating with influencers to promote your products on social media.

When collaborating with influencers, choosing individuals who align with your brand values and have a genuine following is important. You can contact influencers directly or work with influencer marketing agencies to find the right fit for your brand. You can also consider offering free products or discounts to incentivise influencers to promote your brand.

For example, another influencer we love is Julie from @craftbeerdeer! 

Julie, beer influencer, Instagram.

Partnering with local bars and restaurants can also be an effective way to reach a targeted audience. By offering your products to these establishments, you can tap into their existing customer base and potentially gain new customers through word-of-mouth referrals. You can also consider sponsoring events or creating co-branded promotions to increase visibility and build brand awareness.

Overall, you can use many different strategies to market your drinks brand in London. By combining digital marketing, industry events, and influencer partnerships, you can build a strong brand presence and reach your target audience effectively.

Ensuring regulatory compliance and quality control

Understanding UK alcohol regulations

As a drinks brand operating in London, it is essential to ensure that you comply with all relevant UK alcohol regulations. This includes obtaining appropriate licenses and permits, adhering to specific labelling and packaging requirements, and maintaining accurate records.

Implementing quality control measures

Quality control measures are essential for ensuring that your products meet the desired standards of taste, texture, and appearance. This can include implementing quality control processes throughout your production and distribution operations, conducting regular product testing, and monitoring customer feedback.

Working with your 3PL provider to ensure compliance

Your 3PL service provider can play a vital role in regulatory compliance and quality control. It is crucial to work with them closely to develop processes that align with UK alcohol regulations and maintain a high level of quality control throughout the distribution process.

Measuring Success and Planning for Growth

Setting Realistic Goals and KPIs

To measure your success and plan for growth, you must set realistic goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that align with your business objectives. This can include sales revenue, market share, customer satisfaction, and distribution network growth.

Monitoring and analysing performance

Monitoring and analysing your performance metrics regularly can help you identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions about future investments. This can include periodically reviewing sales data, customer feedback, and employee performance.

Scaling your business with the help of a 3PL service

As your business grows, it is essential to scale your operations accordingly. A 3PL service provider, like us here at Tap’in, can help you expand your distribution network, manage your inventory and fulfilment processes efficiently, and reduce costs associated with in-house logistics management. By working with a reliable 3PL provider, you can focus on growing your business and meeting the changing needs of your customers.


Breaking into the London drinks market can be challenging. Still, with the help of a reliable 3PL service provider like us, you can streamline your distribution operations and focus on growing your brand. By understanding market trends and consumer preferences, developing a unique brand identity and value proposition, and leveraging digital marketing and industry partnerships, you can stand out in a highly competitive market. With the right approach and a commitment to quality control and regulatory compliance, you can achieve long-term success in the London drinks market.

To find out more information on how our team at Tap’in can help you break into the London drinks market, contact us at