London, September 9, 2013 – Cocktail drinking in the UK is booming as Britons switch preferences from wine and beer to Mojitos, Cosmopolitans and Pina Coladas, says leading drinks distributor Cellar Trends.
New research by Cellar Trends’ marketing insight team shows that cocktail drinking is four or five times more widespread than previously thought. The report draws on Cellar Trends’ experience as the cocktail category champion for the on-trade through its national sales and promotional teams and Brand Ambassador cocktail trainers.
What is more, the cocktail market is showing a considerable knock-on effect on spirits and liqueurs. Cellar Trends expects the volume of spirits, liqueurs, syrups and bitters used in cocktails to rise 10% this year and to rise 50% over the next five years.
By 2017, as pubs, restaurants and hotels seek to meet growing demand, the number of outlets serving cocktails will increase by one third rising from 30,000 in 2013 to 40,000 by 2017.
Cocktails present a challenge to some outlets such as pubs which are newcomers to cocktails and may lack experienced staff. The need to serve simple, consistent cocktails will drive sales of pre-mixed cocktails by around 15% a year over the next five years, says the report.
Terry Barker, Director of Marketing at Cellar Trends, says: “The size and growth of cocktails has been seriously underestimated. Cocktails are now asked for and served in pubs up and down the land where previously it would have been thought too sophisticated.. Cocktails have opened opportunities for pubs to find new drinks income.
He adds: “Curiously restaurants seem slow to take up cocktails – it seems a natural extension for them to serve cocktails as aperitifs and after dinner.”
The theatricality of cocktail making in a bar is considered to be part of their growing appeal. Cellar Trends Brand Ambassadors who train bartenders in cocktail skills say that cocktail theatre is very important to customer enjoyment, entertainment and perceptions of value.
James Chase, Brand Ambassador of Chase vodka and Williams Gin says:“When people are paying for a cocktail they expect to be entertained as well. It is the theatre of making a cocktail that separates it from just a spirit and a mixer”.
The Brand Ambassadors forecast ten main trends in cocktails over the next year:
• Vintage and premium spirits gaining over standard spirits
• Bitter flavours on the rise and the use of herbs, spices and sours
• Vegetable juice cocktails
• More creative use of ice
• Greater use of ready-made cocktail mixes
• Low calorie ingredients in ‘skinny’ cocktails
• Simpler cocktails using fewer ingredients
• Smaller cocktail serves but better quality
• Increase in pitcher serves in mainstream outlets
They say that the five cocktails ordered most frequently – Mojito, Pina Colada, Cosmopolitan, Margarita and Bloody Mary – will be joined by less familiar Caipirinhas, Collins’, Sours and Tiki cocktails. The revival of classic cocktails such as Manhattans, Martinis, Mules and Negronis, will be tweaked with new twists on ingredients.
Cellar Trends say cocktails are now becoming a feature of Christmas celebrations and that this will drive sales of premium spirits by as much as 45%.
Not least, as drinkers becoming more familiar with cocktails, they begin to make them at home. Cocktails are finding a special place at Christmas as drinkers now look for seasonal and special occasion cocktail recipes.
The Brand ambassadors have created a menu of Christmas cocktails which tap into current trends and tastes (see attached Christmas Crackers Cocktail Menu). The skills and expertise of Cellar Trends Brand Ambassadors are recognized by the bar trade through the large number of awards they garner from cocktail competitions.