Bacardi has released its new Bacardi 2020 Cocktail Trends Report as part of the third anniversary of the group’s Back to the Bar initiative.
Back to the Bar was launched in 2018 and sees Bacardi’s 7000 employees around the world head out of the office to visit bars to discover the latest cocktail trends on February 6.
Among the top trends in the Bacardi 2020 Cocktail Trends Report are:
NO/LOW IS GAINING TRACTION
Mindful drinking has gone mainstream, with 83% of bartenders citing that low-alcohol drinks are hot and an increase of 42% in the online searches with the word ‘mocktail’ in 2019 (Technomic Behind the Bar Insights, 2019 and Google Trends, 2019).
55% of bartenders in New York, LA and London believe the no-and low-alcohol trend will continue to grow within the next 12 months (Distill Ventures, 2019)
NATURAL INGREDIENTS ARE HERE TO STAY
Natural products are in the spotlight, with 31% of bartenders increasingly interested in local, fresh ingredients (Global Brand Ambassador Survey 2019).
With rising awareness about food and where it comes from, people are seeking the safety of natural ingredients. Heavily sweetened, crazy-coloured beverages are no longer a part of the daily routine and support for sugar taxes reflects how people are instead demanding balanced, natural, fresh, and healthy ingredients.
From earthy ginger to floral lavender to citrus grapefruit, brands are celebrating these attributes and are helping consumers feel like they are making the best (and most natural) choice.
SAVOURY COCKTAILS ARE IN STYLE
The culinary cocktail trend borrows methods and techniques from the kitchen and champions fresh, seasonal, savoury and herbal ingredients – 91% of bartenders use vegetables in their cocktails, and 68% of American Culinary Federation members rated culinary cocktail as a ‘hot trend’ last year. (Technomic Behind the Bar Insights, 2019)
Some progressive bars are starting to offer cocktails as individual courses. This movement is also seeing bartenders experiment with savoury and exotic flavors to match with tasting menus including harissa-infused mezcal and plantain-infused scotch.
BARTENDERS SEE ALLURE IN AGED RUM
Cross-category competition and consumers’ premium demands have pushed producers to create a more diverse, innovative rum category.
In the past five years, UK rum sales have grown 15% by volume and 32% by value (according to the 2017 WSTA Spirits Report), and have now broken £1 billion ($1.3 billion).
Premium rum represents 15% of the total rum sector, and the segment is continuing to grow.
Dark rum is leading the premium game – 43% of bartenders ranked it as the top spirit to premiumise. (GBAS 2019)
SUSTAINABILITY STIRS CONVERSATIONS IN BARS
Sustainability is at the forefront of every consumer’s mind, and it’s reflected in the bar – 66% of bartenders mention that sustainable drinks are hot right now (Technomic Behind the Bar Insights, 2019)
Waste management is a huge topic within the food and drink sector. Recently demonstrated by the overwhelming commitment to refuse plastic straws, concerns for the environment are at an all-time high. Driven by anti-waste, Trash Tiki bars are now offering zero-ingredients cocktails by repurposing waste, serving room temperature cocktails, and even growing their own ‘garnish’ gardens.
Now brands and bartenders will have no choice but to take a “root to leaf” approach.
RISE OF THE READY-TO-DRINK
RTD cocktails are here to stay, reflecting the overarching demand for consistent and convenient well-crafted cocktails beyond the bar – there was a 26% increase of vodka soda and flavored RTDs in North America last year (GBAS, 2019).
Pre-mixed cocktails are moving away from artificial colours and favouring premium ingredients to meet the demand for sophisticated on-the-go options to take with them to festivals, to the beach and to go camping.
Due to improved packaging, brands have transformed the canned cocktail to be an upmarket option. There is also movement into using glass and plastic bottles to create an even more sophisticated and “instagramable” look.
HOME ENTERTAINMENT CONTINUES TO DIVERSIFY
According to Just Drinks, 30% of cocktail consumption happens at home.
Today people want the luxury of both spontaneous intimate get-togethers as well as planned parties at home.
With convenience, cost and time being major factors of consideration, home entertainment is becoming an increasingly appealing option.
Advances in home-kits to cocktails machines to AI-recommend cocktail recipes are further fostering this trend. In an era where you can learn a new skill from a YouTube video, it has never been easier for consumers to craft their own sophisticated cocktails in the comfort of their own home and consumers are looking for tools to do this. Home entertainers want to create ceremony and spectacle through their dinner parties – they want to impress their guests.
Bacardi goes Back to the Bar
On Thursday, Bacardi employees across the globe will turn on their “out of office” message to go out on the town and visit bars in more than 100 cities, all in the name of spotting what’s new and next for cocktail trends.
The activity, called Back to the Bar, brings everyone at Bacardi together for a day of “barstool research” with bartenders who are the trend spotters and tastemakers of the spirits business and a direct link to consumers.
According to Nielsen CGA, 40% of revenue in bars is influenced by bartenders as they are the go-to experts to help you pick your drink.
“Back to the Bar tradition is a time when everyone across the company, regardless of day job, becomes an ambassador and a researcher by going back to where our business is made – the local bars and restaurants,” said Mahesh Madhavan, CEO of Bacardi Limited.
“We are in the relationship business and I never miss an opportunity to talk to a bartender or our consumers to learn what they’re seeing and what they think will be the next big thing.”
“In an era where people are flooded with data, there is no substitute for putting feet on the street and seeing first-hand what’s happening at the bar,” says Jacob Briars, Global Advocacy Director at Bacardi. “When something excites the bartenders, we know that it is a matter of time before we start to see a shift in the mindset and behavior of our guests.”