Domestic hedonism to mindful moderation will drive the cocktail trend in 2021, said a new report. The Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report reveals how recent cultural shifts have reshaped the beverage industry and also predicts the changes that will happen in cocktail consumption in 2021.
“The pandemic has shifted mindsets and accelerated emerging trends, the report is a window to these changes,” says Brenda Fiala, Global Vice President, Strategic Insights and Analytics for Bacardi.
“These insights help us navigate the consumer landscape and set the course for future growth, as we enter a new year in which adults of legal drinking age are looking forward to reestablishing connection, creating new rituals, and toasting to simple moments of celebration with loved ones.”
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The pandemic has transformed our homes into the focal point of our social lives. In the UK, one in five people are hosting virtual gatherings; 40 percent of US consumers are interested in make-at-home cocktail kits and to-go cocktails (Nielsen CGA).
Prior to lockdowns, only 1 percent of spirits sales were online as people weren’t really aware of shopping for bottles or cocktails via their browsers. Within weeks of lockdowns, consumers discovered they can buy spirits online and have them delivered right to their door, leading to an exponential growth of online spirits sales. A new culture of convenience, enabled by the meteoric rise of e-comm, is on the rise.
Drizly, an alcohol e-commerce platform, grew by 350 percent in 2020, according to IWSR. An appetite for convenience, and a new abundance of caution, have together sparked a 131 percent rise in ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktails in the US (Nielsen CGA). As this category flourishes further this year, expect to see some new players in the game.
A longing for nostalgic comforts, combined with a desire for escapism, has led many drinkers to craft their own twists on classic cocktails and dabble in edgy flavoring. Many more people are now keen to venture beyond their cocktail comfort zone and are exploring novel, intense flavors, infusing their drinks with spicy, smoky, super-sweet, and bitter tastes.
The Italian aperitivo is being embraced across the globe, spiking interest in bitters in particular. As consumers thirst for a familiar reprieve from lockdown life, classic cocktails are also growing in popularity, as are pursuits of fun twists on these time-honored staples.
More people are pushing the boundaries of experimentation with cocktails like the chili whisky sour and turmeric-infused gin and ginger cocktails, suggesting the emergence of gustatory thrill-seeking.
Post-lockdown, having experimented with homemade cocktails, consumers will be armed with a newfound knowledge of spirits and cocktails. This shift will fuel a reinvention of bars, led by an informed appreciation for bartenders’ skills.
According to Bacardi, 20 percent of customers are now keen to explore drinks that weren’t on their radar pre-lockdown, including premium versions of their favorite spirits or of others they haven’t sampled before. As a result, we’ll see more elevated, to-go options, as well as premium batched cocktails.
In North America, the best premiumization opportunities are in tequila (60 percent), dark rum (32 percent), and mezcal (29 percent). In Europe, gin is booming, and it is the top trending spirit globally (51 percent), based on insights gleaned from the Bacardi Global Brand Ambassador Survey.
Sustainability savvy. The pandemic has not derailed the focus on sustainability and transparency. These issues remain at the forefront of the minds of spirits consumers, with nearly 70 percent of them in the US and Canada agreeing that it’s important for a brand to be sustainable or eco-friendly (IBM, National Retail Association Federation).
This desire for more environmentally conscious consumption has also entered into bars and restaurants. 58 percent of Bacardi brand ambassadors in North America say they have noticed an increase in bartenders’ interest in zero-waste ingredients.
Moderation mediated by mindfulness
As people seek mindful options, low-ABV and non-alcoholic cocktails provide an alternative, and this market is continuing to grow at a fast pace. While Western Europe is leading the NoLo trend, globally, 22 percent of consumers are drinking less in general, and 55 percent of mindful drinkers are consuming low-ABV drinks. Bars and restaurants are starting to take note of this shift. Many have adopted hybrid menus that offer drinks in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions, and much more likely will this year. (IANS)