“When surveyed on where they would plan to spend more over the next 12 months than they usually would, visiting bars and restaurants came in at second place for European consumers, second only to domestic holidays,” states CGA by NielsenIQ in its report entitled Cocktails in Europe 2022.
CGA’s Reach study confirms the importance of the on-trade, with three in four European consumers visiting bars and restaurants more than last year, while nearly two-thirds do so on a weekly basis.
When ordering, the report found that mixed drinks witnessed a significant uptick in sales following the reopening of the channel after Covid-19 Lockdowns.
“This desire for more complex serves has not diminished this year” states the report, “with interest in Cocktails remaining high across the European markets surveyed in CGA’s research.”
Indeed, a significant 31% of European consumers typically drink Cocktails (3 percentage points higher than in 2021) on an on-trade visit.
Cocktails also tap into the ‘treat’ and ‘celebratory’ mindset and increasingly, consumers are seeking to spend special occasions in the on-trade, points out the report.
“CGA’s research has identified that despite cost-of-living concerns consumers will continue to prioritise treat occasions in the On Premise even if the frequency of their visits declines,” comments Graeme Loudon, Managing Director of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at CGA Strategy.
The Mojito remains the most popular choice in the on-trade in Europe with almost half of European consumers choosing it. But the Espresso Martini is increasing in popularity in Italy (up 3.2 percentage points) while the Pornstar Martini grows from strength-to-strength in Great Britain (up 4 percentage points).
However, it’s quality and trust in a brand that truly builds loyalty amongst all consumers, points out the report, adding, “Premium brands have an opportunity to embed a greater layer of recognition and trust within cocktails which, in turn, can help these brands become synonymous with specific cocktail serves.”
Highest Cocktail ordering countries
France tops the list of European consumers who typically drink Cocktails in the on-trade at 41%, up 13 percentage points on 2021. Sweden comes lowest with just 21% of consumers while Ireland comes in equal third position alongside Belgium on 36% (up 8 percentage points and 10 percentage points respectively versus 2021).
Surprisingly perhaps, Switzerland took second place with 37% of Swiss consumers typically ordering cocktails in the on-trade.
Influences on the cocktail consumer
Cocktail drinkers tend to be more susceptible to suggestion, particularly from bartenders and staff. The study found that with 62.5% of Cocktail drinkers agreeing that even if they’d already decided what they were planning to drink, they could still be swayed by bartender recommendations.
“With more consumers open to suggestions on what to drink, suppliers should prioritise engagement and training with bartenders to drive trial and awareness of their brands,” advises Graeme Loudon.
The report points out that these consumers value expert opinions, with 67% of Cocktail drinkers agreeing that they enjoy being educated about the drinks they’re served by knowledgeable bartenders.
“Not only does this segment enjoy more interaction with venue staff, the majority (57.7%) would also prefer bartenders to be more proactive in making recommendations,” it adds.