Cocktail sector continues to surge

More than three quarters of the country’s bars now sell cocktails, with healthier and premium mixed drinks among the big trends driving the flourishing market, exclusive new research from CGA Strategy reveals.

The latest Mixed Drinks Report finds that 78% of British bars now sell cocktails. Across the licensed trade as a whole—including pubs, restaurants and hotels as well as bars—penetration is now at 28% of sites, up by more than four percentage points on last year. Cocktails are most popular in London, where 36% of outlets now sell them.

CGA Strategy’s research also shows that well over a quarter (29%) of cocktail drinkers now prefer to order skinny options. That is up by 13 percentage points on last year, and fits with a wider UK trend of healthier drinking and eating. One in four (25%) now frequently drink cocktails made with premium spirits—a sign of surging interest in craft producers and micro distilleries.

The Mixed Drinks Report calculates that cocktails now account for 6% of all spirit sales by volume, continuing a steady increase over the last few years. Other insights from CGA Strategy’s important snapshot of the market include:

  • The mojito remains the country’s most popular cocktail—but the Pornstar Martini, now the fourth most bought with a market share of 8%, is the biggest riser of the last year
  • Vodka is the most common ingredient, featuring in nearly two thirds (64%) of cocktails served
  • Gin and sparkling wine are increasingly important elements of the cocktail mix, drawing 16% and 11% of sales respectively
  • Men now account for 45% of total consumption—proof that the days of cocktails as the preserve of female drinkers are long gone.

The report also highlights the massive benefits of cocktails and their drinkers to the licensed trade now. It shows that cocktail fans tend to drink out 25% more often than average consumers, and are twice as likely to try new drinks.

CGA Strategy client services director Rachel Perryman says: “Our research reveals how bars have transformed the cocktail market, taking mixed drinks from the niches of drinking-out to a hugely popular mainstream consumer choice. And with the peak cocktail season of summer fast approaching, this report illustrates the great opportunities that bars, pubs and restaurants now have to take their sales to new heights.”

For more information about the Mixed Drinks Report and to purchase copies, call CGA Strategy on 0161 476 8330 or email molly.nicholas@cgapeach.co.uk.