It is no surprise that Australian are drinking more cocktails in bars and restaurants than they did last year. The figure has grown by 28 per cent. What is significant in the latest research from CGA is that 59 per cent of bartenders say they believe that cocktails are in the best position to thrive in 2022.
Looking at Australia’s favourite cocktails, Mojitos and Margaritas lead the way with 24 per cent of Australian cocktail drinkers enjoying these serves and the popularity of the Pina Colada (22%) and the Espresso Martini (21%) demonstrate the diverse range of consumer palates being served by the category.
For any premium category, the Path to Purchase is key. Cocktail consumers enter the category in many ways, with the top two decision points being influenced by detailed menu descriptions (25 per cent) and bartender recommendations (24 per cent). The opportunity for suppliers here lies in strong operator engagement and investment tactics, says CGA.
Scott Elliott, CGA managing director – Americas and Asia Pacific, said: “A ‘one size fits all’ approach to On Premise strategy is outdated and insight-led channel and occasion-based tactics are required now more than ever.
“Operators today have enough challenges to deal with and absolutely must get the support they need from sophisticated drinks suppliers. Not just in terms of relevant trends and evidence-based recommendations but also in practical help around menu creation, operational and advocacy training, support in effective pre-batching techniques and many more elements that are needed to create a compelling and operationally manageable cocktail program.”
CGA says this is because when patrons order a cocktail in a bar or restaurant, they are “looking for a treat” (45 per cent of category drinkers), aligns broadly with the premiumisation trend in play globally.
“There is no doubt that well-conceived and executed cocktails can elevate the standard spirits serve, allowing consumers to enjoy more memorable experiences and for operators to increase visit spend,” says CGA.
But while there is opportunity for growth in cocktails and special occasions in bars and restaurants, Beer still leads the way in terms of overall popularity, with almost half of Australian consumers drinking it in the channel (47 per cent). This is followed by Wine (41 per cent), Spirits (36 per cent) and Cocktails (30 per cent).
These new consumer findings come from CGA’s OPUS, a large-scale consumer study used around the world by the leading beverage suppliers to the On Premise channel. OPUS has fully launched for the first time in Australia this month bringing previously-unseen insights to the region.
OPUS also dives into important category drivers, subcategory preferences, preferred serve styles and detailed brand engagement criteria, enabling subscribers to build robust engagement strategies on a brand, sub-category and segment level. There is nothing similar to CGA’s OPUS in most markets.