US shows the way on spirits

American bars stock a far wider range of spirits than their British counterparts, new research by CGA Group reveals.

That is among a host of findings in a major new cross-Atlantic report comparing and contrasting trends in eating and drinking out in Britain and the US. The survey finds that US bars stock a range of 59 different spirits on average—over two thirds more than Britain’s average of 35.

The report uncovers many more insights into drinking in the two countries, including that US consumers are more likely to drink soft drinks and tequila out of home, while their British counterparts over-index on wine and beer. The margarita and daiquiri are the most popular cocktails in the US, while the mojito and pina colada top the list in Britain. The report also shows that while consumers in the two countries drink out roughly as often, the US still has a much bigger culture of eating out: Americans do so 7.9 times a month on average, compared to 4.6 times for Britons.

But too much choice can sometimes inhibit customers, and two in five (41%) US consumers cite deciding what to drink as their biggest frustration when going out. By contrast, the leading gripe among British consumers is getting served—cited by nearly half (46%) of consumers as a frustration. It shows British pubs and bars need to do more to make purchases easier and faster. 

The report also reveals that while three in five (59%) US spirit drinkers say visibility is an important factor in their choice, only a quarter (28%) of British drinkers do the same. More than a third (39%) of Americans value staff recommendations, compared to just one in eight (12%) British consumers.

CGA Strategy’s Europe CEO Phil Tate says: “This new report provides some fascinating insights into trends in Britain and the US—and shows that while our two countries are alike in our drinking habits in some respects, we are very different in others. In particular, it emphasises the need for operators to provide a wide but manageable and attractive range of drinks options, well presented and efficiently delivered by knowledgeable staff. Pubs and bars that can achieve that will thrive in the years ahead.”

CGA Group’s new report examines more current drinks trends in the US including the rise of craft options, tequila and flavoured spirits. It also outlines likely future developments and key consumer behaviours in Britain and the US. It is based on recent representative surveys of some 20,000 people in the two countries, supported by Nielsen. The report is available to purchase now.

For more information about the report, please call CGA Strategy on

0161 476 8330 or visit www.cgastrategy.co.uk.