The drinks to fizz in 2017

CGA's commercial director Graeme Loudon spoke at the Casual Dining Show this week, here's a summary of what he shared:

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With drinks choice widening and quality soaring, pubs, bars and restaurants have lots with which to tempt consumers through their doors in 2017. But what are the categories for operators to watch this year? CGA’s suite of research services has the answers.

An important thing to get right in 2017 will be range. New products are pouring into the market all the time, and CGA has recorded nearly 2,300 new beer and cider products alone in just three years. It makes it vital to curate a range of drinks that gives customers options without overwhelming them with choice, and our research highlights a few trends to bear in mind while selecting it.

First, craft. The thirst for this is most apparent in beer, and in CGA’s new Business Leaders’ Survey half (52%) of senior execs tip it as a big trend this year. But the desire for craft goes further, to drinks like artisan coffee and micro-distillery spirits. What’s more, a large number of people are willing to pay for premium items like these. The volume of sales in CGA’s premium spirits category jumped by 4.2% in 2016, for example—and in the super-premium and craft category they soared 16.8%.

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Second, cocktails. These have been a growth area for some years, but when we find that nearly a third (30%) of pub restaurants now stock them, we know they have really reached the mainstream. Skinny and non-alcoholic cocktails could be among those to watch in 2017. And finally, sparkling wine. The rising popularity of prosecco is one reason why one in seven (15%) consumers now drink fizzy wine out of home—up from one in ten (10%) a year ago.

British consumers are knowledgeable drinkers, and 2017 will bring lots of new ways to win their custom—not least because London’s new Night Tube will lead drinkers in the capital to stay out later. Staying right on top of these and other drinks trends, and focusing relentlessly on the customer, will be the ways to make the most of the opportunities.

For more insights into the drinks market in 2017, contact graeme.loudon@cgastrategy.co.uk.