brands report 2022 cocktail bitters

Brands Report 2022: Cocktail Bitters

11 January, 2022

Cocktail Bitters are evocative of the Golden Age of cocktails – of brown and stirred-down drinks, braces, waistcoats and fine moustaches which went on to make an implausible comeback in the early 21st century.

But now in the 2020s, we are past peak bitters. Bars have them, but they are mostly set back, rather than lining the bar under the curious noses of punters. 

This year, 99% of bars we polled stocked bitters, 95% had two lines, while 78% had three or more.

But wherever we put the pin in bitters’ centuries-old journey, Angostura has been leading the way.

This ubiquitous brand, which was around when most of these classical recipes were first trialled, is a presence in more than 95% of bars we asked. What’s more, in 86% of bars, it’s the number one choice. After they buy the bar, the tables and the chairs, bartenders buy Angostura bitters – it’s part of the furniture. With so many classics calling it by name, why wouldn’t you stock this spicy old timer? That it’s top of our trending list means it’s not lost any of its credibility over the years.

Of a similar ilk, but a few less cocktails to call home, is Peychaud’s, which is produced at Sazerac’s Buffalo Trace distillery. With anise notes, this bitters is most often used in the Sazerac and Vieux Carré cocktails. Interestingly, only one bar of our 100 uses it more than any other bitters, though 43% had it as their second favourite. Indeed in two-thirds of cases it was among the top-three bitters.

German brand The Bitter Truth, which is popular in Europe, offers the gamut of bitters flavours. It was actually more likely to be a first choice than Peychaud’s, but much less likely to be part of the supporting cast. It seems if you don’t go for Angostura and Peychaud’s, you may opt for a brand range such as The Bitter Truth. It was a top-three bitters in just over a third of bars. Fee Brothers, meanwhile, combines history and a modern-day range approach. Its products were present in more than a quarter of bars polled, while Bob’s in fifth was a fixture in 15%.

                                                                                                  

Methodology

The results of this report are the culmination of a questionnaire of 106 bars around the world, each cherry-picked to take part based on their performance in global bar awards. We aim to find out not only which brands sell best but also what’s trending. These two data sets give us an insight into the brands that are doing the most volume and the brands that are hot right now.

To read more on the methodology of the Brands Report click here.





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Comment

Tess Posthumus

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The pandemic has thrown many challenges at bar owners over the past couple of years and the ones that survived the various lockdowns and restrictions deserve a pat on the back. However, while revenues are returning and bars are beginning to recruit once more, we’ve come up against a whole new set of problems, one of which is a global starring crisis.

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