2018 saw a number of alcohol trends come to prominence, but which ones are sticking around for 2019 and what emerging trends should operators look out for in the year ahead? With the help of its suppliers Beacon, Britain’s leading purchasing company, has identified the top tipples that will be bursting onto menus this year.
Gin is best
Insight from Beacon’s supplier, Matthew Clark has revealed that gin sales surged 50% in value and 45% in volume last year as the spirit surpassed all expectations to become one of 2018’s most popular tipples, with 42% of consumers describing gin as their favourite spirit. The Nation’s love for gin looks set to continue throughout 2019 with data from Beacon’s supplier, Molson Coors highlighting that gin and cocktails see strong performance over the summer season, making gin based cocktails a clever addition for operators to make to menus this year.
Flavoured varieties also saw a huge uplift in 2018, with popular flavours including rhubarb, strawberry and elderflower proving popular amongst gin loving audiences. Whilst these classic flavours remain a favourite, more obscure notes will are set to rise in popularity this year, with the most notable including fiery ginger and pepper. Operators can capitalise on this trend by introducing a more diverse range of flavours to existing menus and by upping the artistry at the bar when pouring each drink. Beacon also encourage operators to use beautiful, accompanying garnishes and tonics to give consumers a more enjoyable drinking experience and capitalise on the growing trend for ‘insta-worthy’ visuals.
Know your craft
Summer remains the key season in which cider and beer experience the biggest volume uplift, with data from Molson Coors reporting a 7% uplift driven by lager and craft varieties in British pubs. The innovation and complex process behind it is continuing to whet drinkers’ appetites and despite established lager brands still counting for the majority of beer sales, the growth potential for craft brands is exciting.
There is also call for new flavors amongst beer lovers. Insight from Matthew Clark suggests that trendsetting venues are already satisfying consumer appetites by introducing new taste profiles to menus, with Saison, a highly carbonated, fruity style that comes in a diverse range of flavours such as chamomile, blackcurrant and juniper already proving a hit. It is therefore key that operators introduce a range of taste profiles to their offering to drive exploration from consumers and capitalise on this trend.
From zero to hero
Following the introduction of the Soft Drinks Levy and the increasing popularity of healthy living trends, the number of adults choosing to lead teetotal lifestyles has risen. Dry January has gained more popularity each year, with those having successfully taken part more likely to cut back on their alcohol intake throughout the year[i], making it key that operators introduce a variety of low and no alcohol options to menus. CGA data reveals that 19 no or low alcohol beers have entered the market in the last two years, as suppliers search for ways to cater to the needs of drinkers who are embracing the ‘no’ with Molson Coors identifying that some of the most popular 0% options are coming from market leaders Heineken, San Miguel and Estrella Galicia.
It’s also important that operators enhance the appeal of their soft drink offering with insight from Matthew Clark identifying that premium soft drinks volume increased 42% in 2018. It is vital that this trend is recognised as mocktails and premiumised mixers become ever more popular. Premium flavours such as elderflower and rose will remain strong choices well into 2019 and these can refresh menus and be sold at a higher price point than other soft drink options.
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