According to Cellar Trends – which distributes the likes of Jägermeister, Luxardo, Suntory whiskies, Chase, Bowmore, Pitú cachaça and Patrón tequila – at least 6% of spirits consumed in the UK on-trade are in the form of cocktails, double the 3% suggested by CGA.
The group had no hard, cross-company, data to support its claim but said indications from its own portfolio sales – many brands of which are popular cocktail ingredients – information passed from its brand ambassadors and its 20,000 accounts across the UK, suggest the boom is packing more of punch than widely thought.
Katy Carter, research and insight manager at Cellar Trends, said cocktail culture is “trickling down to the mainstream” and that this amounted to “a huge opportunity to drive the value of the spirits market”.
Cellar Trends estimates 30,000 of the 80,000 on-trade outlets in the UK serve cocktails, a number that is likely to rise to 40,000 within a couple of years, Carter said.
The company forecasts a 9-10% increase in cocktail volumes this year (CGA predicts 3.9%, said Cellar Trends), generating five-year growth of 50% by 2017.
As part of the report, Cellar Trends’ team of brand ambassadors, identified 10 tends in UK cocktails over the next year.
- Vintage and premium spirits to gain over house spirits
- Bitter flavours to become more popular
- Further use of herbs, spices and sours
- More vegetable juice cocktails
- More creative use of ice
- Greater use of ready-made cocktail mixes
- Low calorie ingredients
- Simpler cocktails using fewer ingredients
- Smaller but better quality cocktail serves
- Increase in pitcher serves in mainstream outlets
According to its own sales indicators, Cellar Trends said the Mojito remains the UK’s most popular cocktail, followed by the Piña Colada, Cosmopolitan, Margarita and Bloody Mary.
The company also said it had seen growing popularity in Caiprinhas, Collins, Manhattans, Martinis, Mules, Negronis, the Old Fashioned, Sours and Tiki and fruit cocktails.
It predicted that hot cocktails and seasonal versions of the Manhattan and Old Fashioned would be a trend this Christmas.
Asked whether Cellar Trends’ market analysis included observations from categories outside of its portfolio, director of marketing Terry Barker, said it did not.
Barker also added that the discrepancy between CGA data and Cellar Trends’ findings could have down to the definition of a cocktail.
In response to DI’s question about cocktail definitions, Tom Lynch, commercial director of CGA said: “[The] G&T wouldn't be included as a cocktail [in our data] but a Martini actually is, due to its ubiquity on cocktail menus and the frequency at which it was referenced by consumers in our qualitative research.”