2020 seemed never-ending and we have finally reached the end of it. Despite experiencing increasing revenue growth between 2015-2019, the last year has seen these gains completely wiped out. These 12 months have changed consumers’ drinking habits and have a big influence on how and what we will drink over the months ahead, particularly when it comes to cocktails. So let’s take a look at our pick of the top cocktail trends that will help you boost revenue in 2021!
Health and wellness remain top of mind as we want to stay healthy and avoid getting sick over the next few months. Google searches for ‘mocktail’ increased by 42% in 2020 and since the pandemic began, non-alcoholic beverages such as Lyre have reported a 400% increase in retail sales. Drinks with low alcohol percentages are also soaring in popularity as we are becoming more health-conscious.
Our suggestion? Make sure that you regularly update your non-alcoholic menu choices with creative and delicious mocktails. Keep an eye out for local producers of low-alcohol beer and wine to add to your inventory.
Tequila & Mezcal on the rise
Tequila was already flying high with the second-fastest-growing sales of any spirit globally.
To add to its popularity, the influence of celebrities’ own brands has put Tequila and Mezcal firmly on the map in the US.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s creation ‘Teremana Tequila’ is expected to sell 300,000 cases in its first 12 months, and Nick Jonas’ ‘Villa One’ is also gaining in popularity. The US surpassed Mexico to become the top market for Mezcal in 2020, with its consumption gaining dramatically in popularity over the last 5 years.
According to Drizly, the nation’s first and largest alcohol e-commerce marketplace, mezcal and tequila are both expected to increase in sales as retailers expect to stock more in 2021. So jump on the celebrity bandwagon and update your tequila and mezcal offerings.
It isn’t all bad news for alcohol drinkers though! In some states, people haven’t been able to go to bars for months and have had to make do with home-made concoctions that never seem to taste quite as good – no matter how well you follow the YouTube or TikTok videos. We are longing for fancy cocktails that we can’t recreate at home – no more simple vodka and soda for us!
Add twists to your classic cocktails in order to make them more interesting for your clientele and offer them something that they can’t recreate at home.
As a result of not being able to go to bars, we have been forced to become more creative in our drinking at home. Social media has seen a bunch of amateur mixologists coming up with fun and creative drinks such as the Yodatini or the Fat Man. This creative mindset is set to continue into 2021, as, more so than ever, people are coming to your establishment for an experience and to try something unique and out-of-the-ordinary.
As TikTok is the fastest growing social media app around the world, use it to show off the creations of your bartenders and raise awareness of your bar. You can even have competitions between your team members to see whose creations get the most traction. Who knows, you might even go viral!
We know all about rum from Cuba, gin from England, and red wine from Bordeaux but what about white wine from Croatia or the Canary Islands? Rum from Vietnam? We may not be able to travel, but we are still inspired by products from our top holiday destinations, including drinks! These can be great value for money for consumers as the price does not reflect a well-known region.
Check out if you can get some interesting and unique spirits or wines from different parts of the world on your menu. You can even tell a bit of the history of the location or wine to create more of a buzz around it – or even do a theme night for international products to see which ones are most popular.
Treating ourselves has never been more top of mind as we are leaving an incredibly difficult year behind. We have missed socializing and going out, whether it be to a restaurant or a bar. A study conducted the ISWR Drinks Market Analysis pre-pandemic showed that ‘status’ spirits retailing for more than $100 are growing faster than the entirety of the spirits market.
Think about starting, or improving, your premium offering as your clientele might not be coming in as often as before for a while, but they will be happy to spend money for a product that they deem to be worth it.
Hard seltzers here to stay
Sales of hard seltzers during the pandemic have exploded! Although they have been primarily available in supermarkets, 2021 will see the inclusion of these drinks in bars and restaurants to attract new customers and satisfy hard seltzer converts.
White Claw owns more than half the hard seltzer market but with other brands such as Bon & Viv and Truly Hard Seltzer coming up behind, competition is rife. Let’s not forget that Coca Cola will enter the market by mid 2021 with ‘Topo Chico’ – this boom is looking set to continue.
Take a look at your client base and see what sort of hard seltzers you should incorporate into your menu or even consider getting on tap. Do you get overrun by football fans on Sundays? Consider the ever-popular White Claw. Are you more into local brews? See if there are any locally produced craft hard seltzers available.
Cannabis company Canopy Growth Corporation will launch its THC-infused beverages in 2021 in partnership with Acreage Holdings. With Constellation Brands buying a further 5.1% in Canopy Growth in 2020, we are predicting an increase in cannabis as an ingredient in drinks starting in 2021.
Probiotics will also be incorporated more and more due to their immune system boosting benefits as their non-alcoholic products have been selling very well across the country.
If your state has already legalized cannabis, research whether there are any local breweries or distilleries that have started offering cannabis-infused drinks and consider adding them to your menu. If not, just keep one eye on this trend as cannabis could be legalized in more states over the next 4 years with a new administration.
Resurgence of rum
Rum has been tipped as the next big spirit for a while now, and we will finally see this come to fruition in 2021. With new and exciting American producers attracting a younger consumer, the spirit is set to break records this year. With brands such as ‘Ten to One’ and ‘Privateer Rum’ leading the American rum charge, older distinguished distilleries are targeting whiskey drinkers.
So refresh your rum selection to include young and fresh American brands – and you will reap the financial rewards!
That’s it for our pick of the top cocktail trends for 2021. Many analysts in our industry are cautiously optimistic about 2021 but it won’t be an easy ride to get back to normal. As customers begin to make their first steps towards normalcy, you have to be patient and open to change to survive and win their business. We hope the data and tips provided will help you boost your revenue and attract new customers over the next 12 months.
Our final advice? Keep engaged with other bar and restaurant owners online. You can share experiences and ask questions to your peers through a number of online communities which we have listed here. Don’t forget to listen to your customers. Ask them how they are doing and what they missed most during 2020. By listening and adapting to their needs, you’re bound to make good progress.