Created in collaboration with The Future Laboratory, the annual Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report 2022 draws from Bacardi-led and external research to unveil the undercurrents transforming everything from the types of drinks people want; the flavors they expect; and the occasions they consume cocktails in.
1. Luxury libations
Discerning attitudes are emerging among new alcohol connoisseurs, who are seeking out high-quality drink experiences – driving another wave of premiumization across spirit categories, including in the canned format of premium prepared cocktails.
Increased interest in creating cocktails at home during the pandemic is credited with spearheading this new wave, with their new interest in spirits and ingredients spreading into the on-trade. In fact, 50% of bartenders globally report that their customers are drinking more premium drinks since the start of the pandemic.
“Bartenders and consumers alike are exhibiting excitement for tequila, bourbon, and cognac, where category premiumization, exclusivity, and the hand-crafted nature of the spirit are driving intrigue and desire. Demand for tequila is driven by the shift in how it's perceived - from a party spirit to sophisticated sipping serve, and the mixability of the spirit that has made it a base for popular cocktails, such as the margarita, old fashioned, negroni, and paloma,” notes Bacardi.
2. Digital drinking
The concept of ‘digital drinking’ has again been driven by the pandemic and has two main facets.
Firstly, cocktail enthusiasts have a wealth of information at their disposal: whether it’s looking up recipes online, taking inspiration from social media, or even using a dedicated app (Bacardi created Mix Lab, an app initially launched in the UK and US, to provide more than 300 cocktails recipes to consumers at home, including classic serves and unique cocktails).
The second digital revolution is the growth of alcohol ecommerce: where everything from classic to specialty spirits can be delivered on demand. “Much of the current growth in e-commerce is being driven by the US, with more than 65% of consumers in the country using an online service to purchase alcohol,” notes Bacardi.
3. Seeking sustainability
Cocktail consumers are no different to those across the wider food and drink category in that they are thinking more about the impact of the products they buy and consume.
“The coming year will see consumers demand innovative, ethical, long-term solutions that deliver real social change,” says Bacardi. “With the growing importance of enterprises that empower communities and fuel localism, hyper-local delivery will go mainstream as consumers seek to balance their desire for convenience with a quest for sustainable solutions.
“Sustainability remains a primary concern of consumers across the globe. But while recyclability and zero-waste cocktails formed the thrust of sustainable action this year, 2022 will see more initiatives shaped by a focus on how spirits are made, with a vast majority of people now willing to pay more for ethically sourced regenerative refreshments.”
4. Moderate mixology
The rise of the low to no category is influencing the cocktail category. Of particular note is a the ‘sober-curious’ category – consumers who happily switch between classic strength alcoholic cocktails and low or no cocktails.
“People are exploring new flexible approaches to sobriety while favoring unique cocktails and spirits when they decide to drink. There’s a rise in sober-curious consumers, happy to switch between sober nights and drinking occasions, with 58% globally drinking more non-alcoholic and low-ABV cocktails (NoLo) than a year ago.”
5. Transformative times
As everyone works towards a ‘new normal’, the industry will have to adapt to the new trends consumers embrace. The idea of creating an experience will be as strong as ever: something that plays into the cocktail trend well.
“Across the globe, a wealth of pent-up demand for social interactions will drive people to seek out cocktail experiences that deliver transformation, celebrate the power of social connection, embrace new experiences, and strive for learning and personal growth. As these consumers return to bars, they’re expecting to be wowed by cocktail experience as many go into 2022 with a sense of mindfulness around making each moment more meaningful.”
Pictures: getty/thegoodbrigade; getty/santypan