What America Is Drinking: Margarita Tops The List Of America’s Favourite Cocktail

Nielsen CGA Releases First On-Premise Consumer Survey for U.S. Market; Revealing Comprehensive Insights into America's Eating and Drinking Habits in Restaurants and at Bars

Nielsen CGA, a joint venture between Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) and CGA Strategy, have released insights from their first On-Premise Consumer Survey for the U.S. market. 

The Nielsen CGA On-Premise Consumer Survey is a biannual survey of 15,000 on-premise consumers, all of legal drinking age, aimed to provide a comprehensive look into America’s eating and drinking habits in restaurants and at bars. This first U.S. market survey, which is nationally representative of age, gender and location (state), uncovers rich consumer sentiment data that speaks to all aspects of on-premise usage. Drilling down to gain in-depth insight into drinking trends, tastes, occasionality, chain usage and drink brand preferences, this survey can reveal: the cross-over between a retailer’s customers and a beverage-alcohol (BevAl) brand’s consumers, top outlets visited, occasions that drive visits (e.g., after work drink, celebration) and overall preferred drink categories and brands.

“To win in this complex on premise market, manufacturers, distributors and retailers need to gain a total consumer view and go beyond simply what is being consumed,” said Scott Elliott, SVP Nielsen CGA. “Essentially this means gaining insight into who is buying what, where, why and crucially—what they do when they are not engaging with your brand. Together with TD Linx and our best-in-class measurement and analytic services, this sentiment data completes the Nielsen CGA circle of on-premise insight capabilities. This unique 360-degree approach, combined with our world-leading, on-premise consultancy credentials, means Nielsen CGA customers can start to forge new, differentiated, approaches to winning in the on-premise space.”

The Nielsen CGA On-Premise Consumer Survey is available now for Nielsen clients.


General Fan Favorites

  • 23% of the U.S. population have drunk a cocktail out of home in the last 3 months
  • Tequila (44%) is the favorite liquor base for cocktails in the U.S., followed by: light rum (39%), flavored Vodka (39%), non-flavored Vodka (39%) and whiskey (27%)
  • Margarita (60%) is the most popular cocktail in the U.S., followed by: Daiquiri (44%), Piña Colada (36%), Long Island (33%) and Mojito (29%)
  • 48% of consumers feel that cocktail menus with named liquor brands are very important or important when choosing a cocktail

Fan Favorites: by Retail Chain

  • Chilli’s® consumers are 7% more likely to try a margarita (67%) than the U.S. average (60%)
  • Buffalo Wild Wings® consumers are 7% more likely to try a Tequila Sunrise (34%) than the U.S. average (27%)
  • Bonefish Grill consumers are 13% more likely to try a martini (39%) than the U.S. average (26%)
  • TGI Fridays℠ consumers are 8% more likely to try a Mojito (41%) than the U.S. average (33%)

How much are Americans willing to pay for a cocktail when out?

  • $8.72 for a standard cocktail
  • Consumers are willing to pay 25% more for a cocktail made with premium spirits; 
  • the average willingness to spend: $10.98

A hunch about brunch

  • Around six in 10 Americans are likely to drink alcohol with brunch
  • 24% of those who eat out at Brunch will drink a cocktail: 45% of brunchers would often order Mimosa, 36% a Bloody Mary and 27% a Champagne cocktail


Nielsen CGA on-premise consumer survey was conducted online, in English, within the U.S. between March 20 and April 7, 2016, among 15,000 adults (aged 21 and over) who have visited an on premise establishment at least once in the last three months during the time of the survey. 

About Nielsen
Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com

About CGA
CGA Strategy is an innovative, flexible and creative marketing information company specializing in the on premise market. Through a product portfolio covering brand metrics, outlet universe evolution and retailer performance, CGA provides clients with solutions to their individual business needs. Established in 1990, CGA Strategy now works with producers, retailers and regulators in multiple countries across Europe and North America.  For more information, please visit, www.cgastrategy.co.uk.

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