Cocktail trends: sober-curious consumers and citrus sensations
Mirroring much of the low-no category, Bacardi notes that cocktails trends in the sector are being driven by the ‘sober-curious’ movement – the flexitarians of the alcohol category.
Such consumers are intrigued by the full spectrum of cocktails and want a broader portfolio of choices: happy to shift between low, no and high ABVs.
Such sober-curious consumers are set to increase in number through 2022, with new mindsets driving the continued growth of non-alcoholic and low-ABV cocktails, according to the company. In the same way that flexitarians take a fluid approach to vegan and vegetarian diets, sober-curious consumers are increasingly happy to switch between sober nights and drinking occasions.
Shunning sweet: Enter tajin and furikake
Another key trend in the category is that the days of overly sweet or tasteless mocktails are long gone. Instead, consumers can now enjoy the same quality cocktail experience whether the spirit is alcoholic or not.
“We’ve been promoting this idea of less is more for a while now, and that’s given us plenty of time to create incredible ‘no and low’ (NoLo) cocktails from across our portfolio of drinks for people to enjoy," said Marine Rozenfeld, Innovation Development Lead, Western Europe, Australia & New Zealand at Bacardi.
“Mindful drinking – the concept of drinking less but better and savoring every sip – is not a new trend," notes Rozenfeld. "According to Nielsen, almost 60% of people are drinking more NoLo than they were last year, and almost 80% want to introduce more NoLo into their repertoire. In other words, mindful drinking has moved well beyond a trend, it’s big, and it’s here to stay.”
Translating this into the cocktail category, Bacardi finds that - in the US and the UK, specifically - a quarter of consumers are planning to drink cocktails with lower alcohol content, while a similar percentage planning to drink more non-alcoholic cocktails too. The figures are similar in Brazil and Mexico, where around one-third plan to drink cocktails with lower alcohol content, while 23% feel the same in Israel.
"We realized early on that people want quality from a NoLo cocktail – they want the same delicious, sophisticated experience when they’re moderating, without compromising on flavor or presentation. That’s why we’re working with bartenders to train staff on cocktails like the St-Germain Spritz and the Martini Fiero & Tonic, which are beautiful in both looks and flavor, and made with natural ingredients.
“When it comes to the flavor profiles people are seeking out, our findings in the Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report for 2022 show that citrus flavors are what people are gravitating towards, like grapefruit, blood orange, and lemon. We also found a surprising rise in globally inspired flavors like tajin, furikake, and even hot mustard!”
No and low cocktails need no and low spirits...
Bacardi launched Martini Non-Alcoholic Vibrante and Floreale Aperitivo in Europe in 2020. “This marked a significant moment for us as we stepped up our focus on the mindful drinking category and as Martini became the first brand of its size to introduce a non-alcoholic Aperitivo," said Rozenfeld. "It's now another star in our NoLo portfolio, which already includes St-Germain liqueur [20% ABV] and Martini Fiero [14.9% ABV].
“The expertise of our Martini Master Blender, Beppe Musso, was fundamental to the development of Martini Non-Alcoholic. The skill involved in carefully removing the alcohol from the wine before adding the botanicals and herbs to preserve the aroma, mouthfeel, and taste of Martini is truly incredible. In fact, we’ve pioneered cutting-edge technology to make it possible, and we’re super proud of the quality and taste of this drink.”
Now, Bacardi is following up with the launch of new non-alcoholic spirit Palette in Europe this month. The spirit comes in two expressions - Palette Bold and Palette Roots - and debuts in select bars across London, Paris and Amsterdam.
“Palette was born from a collaboration between Bacardi and bartenders in Amsterdam when we set out on a mission to make a truly versatile, high quality non-alcoholic spirit that would open the door to creative, mindful cocktails.
“We drew on our 160 years of spirits-making expertise to craft Palette, using cutting-edge technology to extract all-natural flavors from botanicals that include American oakwood, gentian root, juniper berries, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.”
Building on momentum for Dry January 2022
Across Western Europe, Bacardi has launched a ‘Less is More’ mindful drinking marketing campaign for Dry January 2022, working with partners in the retail and bar industry to help them tap into a ‘huge' NoLo sales opportunity at this time of year.
This will see Bacardi build awareness for its no and low alcoholic spirits, as well as wider initiatives such as guides and gifts focusing on mindful cocktail ideas.
“One focus is on continuing to introduce Martini Non-Alcoholic to more and more consumers," explained Rozenfeld. "We’ll be hosting tens of thousands of tastings across Europe and boosting our NoLo range’s visibility on shelf with stand-out point of sale, plus menu cards to help educate consumers on how to create longer, lower ABV cocktails at home, using our premium spirits.
“Meanwhile, we’re also working with bar owners to help them tap into the mindful drinking opportunity – we even have a number of Trade Ambassadors who are Mindful Drinking specialists.
“We know people are increasingly looking for non-alcoholic alternatives when they step into a bar, so we’ll be providing an innovative drink strategy focused on creating delicious no and low alcohol cocktails, as well as digital templates so they can clearly signpost their NoLo options on their cocktail menu.
"We’ll continue investing in digital commerce too, with dedicated ‘Less is More’ Amazon gift stores in the UK, Germany and Spain to inspire at-home bartenders with recipes and interactive content.
“We’re also improving consumer education around mindful drinking with our new Mindful Hosting and Cocktail Guide, accessible globally. We created this with the ever-growing number of home mixologists in mind. As hosting dinner parties and gatherings at home continues to be the norm, we wanted to share everything from amazing NoLo cocktail recipes to tips on elevating the experience for guests with beautiful glassware and garnishes.”