The Cocktail Report

Cardinal (our drinks specialist division) teamed up with Pub & Bar magazine to bring its readers The Cocktail Report. Showcasing trends, consumer behaviours and findings that will directly impact what drinks pubs & bars serve and how to serve them.

Sophie Johnson

Alasdair Pearce

April 16, 2018

Cocktails have thrived across the bar, pub and restaurant sector in recent years. No longer confined to cocktail bars or premium occasions, one in five consumers in our survey had their last cocktail in a ‘chain’ restaurant on the high street.

With the growth of the category, the range of cocktails is expanding. Although the mojito retains its place as the most popular cocktail, consumers aren’t necessarily sticking to the classics, giving staff licence to experiment. The menu itself can act as a footfall driver – with over three quarters agreeing that a great cocktail menu makes them more likely to consider going somewhere. Three quarters also say they’re more likely to stay for longer in a restaurant with good cocktails.

Promotional offers on cocktails are now widespread, with high street brands competing on price. This has been crucial in triggering sales, with almost 40% of respondents saying their last cocktail was part of a promotional offer. It increases perception of value for money and drives consistent behaviour – our data shows that those who drink cocktails more frequently tend to buy them on promotion.

For drinks brand owners, there is still a knowledge gap in terms of consumers knowing the brand of spirits in their cocktail. Half of consumers say they didn’t know the brand(s) in their last cocktail. But do they want to know? More frequent drinkers and older (30+ drinkers) are more likely to say “yes”. There is perhaps a trade-up opportunity for operators and brands: 79% of consumers agree that they’d be more likely to choose a premium cocktail on happy hour or promotion.

And don’t forget the theatre... 70% felt that seeing a cocktail made was an important part of the experience, across types of outlet. It can be an opportunity to increase margins – almost two thirds said they’d be willing to pay more for a cocktail made with a bit of flair and theatre. In our experience, flair can also be in the final serve itself e.g. quirky or stand-out serveware and garnishes. Sharing cocktails are also big news – with almost half of consumers saying that cocktail sharers are becoming more popular.

Read the full report over at Pub & Bar Magazine

Morar HPI Limited is part of MIG Global and part of the Next15 Group.

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