Drawing on its own research, the distributor believes that about 30,000 on-trade outlets serve cocktails in the UK – 25 per cent more than the 24,000 estimated by on-trade specialist CGA Strategy.
“We think the cocktail boom is bigger than CGA currently states,” says Katy Carter, head of insight and research at Cellar Trends. “The cocktail revolution is set to continue and we think it’s going to boom particularly within the next five years.”
Their research draws on the company’s activities in the UK on-trade where it distributes brands such as Luxardo Sambuca and liqueurs, Patrón tequila, La Fée absinthe, Pitú cachaça, Pusser’s Rum, Finest Call cocktail mixes, Chase Distillery’s vodka, gin and liqueurs, and liqueurs Midori and Mandarine Napoléon.
Cellar Trends expects the volume of spirits, liqueurs, syrups and bitters used in cocktails to rise 10% this year and to rise 50% over the next five years. By 2017, it predicts that the number of outlets serving cocktails will have risen to 40,000.
This again contrasts with CGA’s forecast which has predicted only 5.4% growth in cocktail volumes this year.
Cellar Trends reports that the cocktails currently being ordered most frequently in the on-trade are the Mojito, Piña Colada, Cosmopolitan, Margarita and Bloody Mary.
However, it predicts these will be joined by Caipirinhas, Collins, Sours and tiki cocktails, plus twists on classic cocktails such as a Manhattan, Martinis, Mules and a Negroni.
With cocktails being added at pubs and bars without trained mixologists, sales of pre-mixed cocktails are expected to rise by around 15% a year over the next five years, the report adds.
Terry Barker, director of marketing at Cellar Trends, said: “The size and growth of cocktails has been seriously underestimated. Cocktails are now asked for and served in pubs up and down the land where previously it would have been thought too sophisticated. Cocktails have opened opportunities for pubs to find new drinks income.”
Cellar Trends’ team of brand ambassadors, many of whom are former bartenders, forecast 10 main trends over the next year:
• Vintage and premium spirits gaining over standard spirits
• Bitter flavours on the rise and the use of herbs, spices and sours
• Vegetable juice cocktails
• More creative use of ice
• Greater use of ready-made cocktail mixes
• Low-calorie ingredients in “skinny” cocktails
• Simpler cocktails using fewer ingredients
• Smaller cocktail serves but better quality
• An increase in pitcher serves in mainstream outlets