Bacardi Limited has revealed its Bacardi 2021 Cocktail Trends Report, which forecasts the shifts in cocktail consumption for the coming year. Created in combination with London-based consultancy The Future Laboratory, the report draws on insights from Bacardi-led consumer and brand ambassador surveys, interviews with the bar and restaurant trade, Nielsen CGA data, and The Future Laboratory’s independent research
“The global pandemic has had a profound impact on the drinks industry,” says the report. “It has undoubtedly expedited the at-home and e-commerce convenience culture we had already begun to enjoy, bringing more experiences straight into our homes than we could ever have imagined.”
At home, “Domestic hedonism” is in according to the brand. The pandemic has transformed our homes into the focal point of our social lives. In the UK, one in five people are hosting virtual gatherings; 40% of U.S. consumers are interested in make-at-home cocktail kits and to-go cocktails (Nielsen CGA).
Prior to lockdowns, only 1% of spirits sales were online as people weren’t really aware of shopping for bottles or cocktails via their browsers. Within weeks of lockdowns, consumers discovered they can buy spirits online and have them delivered right to their door, leading to exponential growth of online spirits sales. A new culture of convenience, enabled by the meteoric rise of e-comm, is on the rise.
Drizly, which was just purchased by Uber, grew by 350% in 2020. An appetite for convenience, and a new abundance of caution, have together sparked a 131% rise in ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktails in the U.S., according to the report.
Globally speaking, Gin is the spirit of most interest to bartenders, up 10% from last year, and it’s Western Europe that’s truly pushing the Ginaissance with the UK, France, Italy, and Germany all reporting growth for the herbaceous clear spirit.
In North America, however, Tequila continues to drive ahead (up 28%), thanks in large part to a resurgence in margarita (+27%) and other tequila cocktails (21%).
In North America, the spirits with the best premiumisation opportunities are Tequila (60%), dark Rum (32%), and Mezcal (29%). In Western Europe, 36% of bartenders see gin as a major opportunity for premiumisation.
Overall, the top 5 spirits of interest are Gin (51%), Mezcal (46%), Tequila (45%), Vermouth (38%), and Bitter Liqueurs/Amaro Liqueurs (38%).
The survey found that low-ABV serves (47%) topped the list of most popular cocktails globally, followed by other Spritzes (45%), Negronis (41%), classic cocktails with a twist (39%) and G&Ts and twists (31%). Bacardi predicts that 2021 will see a return to “light-hearted drinks and flavour-filled indulgences.”
“The classics are back – but with a futuristic twist,” said Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory. “At home, we’ve learned to make these drinks. But once bars are up and running again, we’ll be expecting our favourite bartenders and places to match, confound and challenge us with the future faced fusions and variation builds and tastes they’ve been perfecting during lockdown – super-charged bitters, volatile sweets when we expect gentle sours, even hyper-local elixirs that distil the best weeds, mosses, and lichens with the exactness of a chemist. If yesterday’s bartender was about skill and mixology, tomorrow’s one is about alchemy and disruption.”
Overall, there is a larger interest in a sustainable future across the spirits sector. 58% of Bacardi brand ambassadors in North America said they have noticed an increase in bartenders’ interest in zero-waste ingredients. Furthermore, according to data from the National Retail Association Federation, 70% of spirits drinkers in the US and Canada believe it is important for a brand to be sustainable.
Read the Bacardi 2021 Cocktail Trends full report.