Has the nature of the shots market changed?

With the on-trade open once more, the sales potential of the highly-profitable shots market has returned. We speak to some pubs about how this market is performing in today's pandemic-conscious pub.

Aimed at the 25 to 40 year-old market and always a tidy earner for the licensed trade, the shots market is one particularly suited to the late-night venue. Indeed, it remains a remakably persistent feature of late-night venues countywide, even though it’s one that gets a mixed response from consumers.

As such, Lockdown may have dampened such spirits sales all around the country but with the on-trade open once more, the sales potential for shots has returned.

Downing shots is a community affair and seldom do individuals order them just for themselves so what’s already a good margin product can be multiplied by the number of merrymakers present. That’s perhaps why proprietors should take them more seriously.

Jerry Seges and Andrea Grechi operate Pygmalion and its younger sibling Little Pyg in Dublin’s William Street area.

Pygmalion has its own Shots menu with six or seven choices ranging from a Baby Guinness, a Silver Bullet or a B52 to Kahluas or a Brian Haemorrhage.

“The Baby Guinness is popular everywhere with women ordering it all around Ireland,” says Jerry, who points out that sales of shots improve during the Summer period. Pygmalion charges between €5.50 and €5.80 for a shot.

Cocktails are the more common order in both Pygmalion and Little Pyg but they plan to introduce a shots menu into the more restaurant-oriented Little Pyg soon.

Of course straight-up shots like Sambucca or Tequila are also available in both outlets.

Overall, Jerry reckons that shots could sometimes be responsible for as much as  15% of sales in Pygmalion of an evening.

The pair have just opened another bar – the Malfy Gin Bar – nearby and they hope to open a fourth, LPP, this Autumn.

At the Dinn Ri in Carlow’s Tullow Street Garry Walsh is of the view that shots are indeed still popular in the on-trade but they’re more so at Dinn Ri’s sister pub across the road, The Barracks, which enjoys a younger age profile but has only reopened since June.

“Since we reopened The Barracks 28% of our sales have been in cocktails,” he says, “which together with the rest of the spirits market would form 54% of our sales. 12% of this would be shots-related.”

Garry points to the popularity of the Baby Guinness too. This would be responsible for around a third of shots sales in that particular outlet.

“Baby Guinness sells as much as Tequila, Sambuca and Pirahna added together,” he explains, “But it’s more of a dessert drink than a ‘shot’ as such.”

He’s also developed a shots menu “to get back our club people” who were all but lost in the intervening 18 months.

He reports a fairly good mix between the genders for drinking shots.

“It’s a celebratory thing at the end of the night” says Garry, “and would be down to whoever’s at the table – you’d have mixed tables, ladies’ only and mens’ only tables – and that would dictate the kind of shot they’d be going with.”

With the predominantly younger market in The Barracks, he’s running price-point promotions for some of the shots and spirits, offering two for €10.

Over at the Dinn Ri, the crowd profile would be slightly older but shots are quite strong here too, says Garry, reckoning that some 30% of the market for shots would be sold in the nightclub, “… but we haven’t been there since March 2020”.

He says that since reopening the  spirits in general have had a slow start but have come back to shots being one of the last orders before customers go home and with earlier closing they’re coming out a bit earlier too.

The idea of getting a round of shots with their drinks is common among customers and has become a bit of a trend again, he adds.

Shots are popular for a variety of reasons: as impulse purchases or for their taste and their ‘shock’ value or because customers seek them out for a special moment or a bit of a buzz.

So whether it’s the down-in-one style or spread more luxuriously through a cocktail, shots look like they’re unikely to go far from peoples’ palates any time soon. And as an established social ritual among groups of younger adults intent on a making a night of it, it’s only right that they should be presented with a range of the best on offer.


Vaccari Sambuca


There are are two skus in the range – White and Nero – both triple anise Sambuca made with Mediterranean Aniseed, Fennel and a very rare Chinese Star Aniseed which grows in South China and North Vietnam.

Vaccari Sambuca White combines a unique selection of premium ingredients to create this triple Anise Sambuca, including essential oils from a wide range of botanicals. This can be thinned with water or drunk as a flambé after chewing two coffee beans.

Vaccari Sambuca Nero’s signature deep blue, almost inky-black appearance is made by blending Vaccari Sambuca with Elderbush berries. The suggested serve is Vaccari Sambuca Nero poured over ice.

The Vaccari Sambuca range of supremely smooth and premium liqueurs honours the independent spirit of Arturo Vaccari, creator of the famous Galliano brand.

Both are distilled using methods from the 19th Century Italian tradition; the result is a premium spirit filled with passion, warmth and a depth of flavour. Proudly distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.




Jägermeister is made with the highest-grade herbs, blossoms, roots and fruits from around the globe – 56 herbs & spices crafted into four distinct macerates and combined together.

Jägermeister is working towards ensuring the perfect serve globally. The herbal liqueur can be enjoyed as an ice-cold shot or try a Berlin Mule cocktail. This gutsy combination of Jägermeister, Ginger Beer, Lime and Cucumber over ice really shows the versatility and mixability of Jägermeister.

Jägermeister  Scharf, which translates to ‘hot’ or ‘spicy’ in German, is a new expression of the herbal liqueur made with the same 56 botanicals, but it has added Ginger and Galangal for an extra kick.

The Coolpack is an additional type of packaging for Jägermeister.

As Jägermeister is best served ice-cold at -18°C this innovative design acts like a freezer pack. The new packaging doesn’t change what’s inside: we still see Jägermeister as an ice-cold shot. This latest design innovation is stackable, compact and portable.

Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.




Blending peanut butter with whiskey? We thought the idea sounded a little nutty too. But it’s high time a whiskey was bred to take the party to the next level. Real distilled peanut butter whiskey!

American whiskey infused with peanut butter is a wonderful choice for anyone who enjoys a nutty treat; glorious sipped neat over ice, but will also add unique character to cocktails.

A peanut butter Old Fashioned perhaps? Rich peanut butter flavour with whiskey contributing hints of butterscotch, caramel latte and hazelnut. This peanut butter whiskey is the perfect component to put a peanutty twist in some classic cocktails!

Grab a bottle of Sheep Dog Peanut Butter Whiskey and woof down some good times. 33% ABV.



Fireball is a Canadian liqueur which comes from blending smooth Canadian whisky with natural sweet, spicy Cinnamon flavours. The whisky is smooth with a fiery hot Cinnamon finish. Enjoy as a shot or in cocktails.

33% ABV Fireball is best served straight out of the freezer as an ice-cold shot. Perfect to kick-start any party. If you do decide to take on the original ice-cold shot, prepare to stand face-to-face with a fire-breathing dragon who just ate a whisky barrel full of spicy Cinnamon!

For those who prefer drinks a little longer, this Canadian legend mixes perfectly with cloudy Apple juice to make a refreshing apple pie-flavoured cocktail. Simply pour 50ml of Fireball into a tall glass filled with ice, top-up with cloudy Apple juice and garnish with a slice of Apple for good measure. The perfect refreshing drink with a kick! Fireball 50cl is a liqueur blended with Canadian whisky and natural Cinnamon flavours.

Launching in October we’ve the ultimate party-starter with our Fireball Party Bucket. Containing 20 Fireball minis, chuck in a bag of ice and get the party started!


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