Bacardi Limited, the world’s largest privately-held spirits company, has its eye on the future. It just released the Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report, the company’s second annual edition, revealing how recent cultural shifts have reshaped the beverage industry. Created in collaboration with The Future Laboratory (TFL), a London-based consultancy, the report predicts the changes that will happen in cocktail consumption in 2021. It also relates insights collected from the global network of Bacardi ambassadors, as well as bartenders and other industry experts.
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Highlights of the latest trends revealed in the Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report 2021. Find out what the top trending cocktails are, what ingredients are the most popular, and which extreme flavors people are craving this year. (Graphic: Business Wire)
“The pandemic has shifted mindsets and accelerated emerging trends, and the Bacardi Cocktail Trends 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.”
- Domestic hedonism. 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% of U.S. consumers are interested in make-at-home cocktail kits and to-go cocktails (Nielsen CGA).
Prior to lockdowns, only 1% of spirits sales were online as people weren’t really aware of shopping of 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 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% in 2020, according to IWSR. An appetite for convenience, and a new abundance of caution, have together sparked a 131% rise in ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktails in the U.S. (Nielsen CGA).
As this category flourishes further this year, expect to see some new players in the game.
- Gustatory thrill-seeking. A longing for nostalgic comforts, combined with a desire for escapism, have 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.
“The classics are back – but with a futuristic twist,” says Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory. He further predicts that, “At home, we’ve learned to make these drinks. But once bars are up and running again, we’ll be expecting our favorite bartenders and places to match, confound and challenge us with the future faced fusions and variation builds and tastes they’ve been perfecting during lockdown – super-charged bitters, volatile sweets when we expect gentle sours, even hyper-local elixirs that distil the best weeds, mosses, and lichens with the exactness of a chemist. If yesterday’s bartender was about skill and mixology, tomorrow’s one is a about alchemy and disruption.”
- Experimental aficionados. 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% 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%), dark rum (32%), and mezcal (29%). In Europe, gin is booming, and it is the top trending spirit globally (51%), 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% of them in the U.S. 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% 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% of consumers are drinking less in general, and 55% 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 many more likely will this year.
Download the complete Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report 2021 and Infographic.
About Bacardi Limited
Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, produces and markets internationally recognized spirits and wines. The Bacardi Limited brand portfolio comprises more than 200 brands and labels, including BACARDÍ® rum, GREY GOOSE® vodka, PATRÓN® tequila, DEWAR’S® Blended Scotch whisky, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, MARTINI® vermouth and sparkling wines, CAZADORES® 100% blue agave tequila, and other leading and emerging brands including WILLIAM LAWSON’S® Scotch whisky, ST-GERMAIN® elderflower liqueur, and ERISTOFF® vodka. Founded more than 158 years ago in Santiago de Cuba, family-owned Bacardi Limited currently employs more than 7,000, operates production facilities in 11 countries, and sells its brands in more than 170 countries. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited. Visit http://www.bacardilimited.com or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.