Cocktail sales continue to soar as new trends emerge

Value of sales up by 7.5% in early 2018, with demand for aperitifs, sparkling and healthier options all increasing.

Cocktails continue to rise in popularity in British bars, pubs and restaurants, an exclusive new report from CGA reveals—and promotions and trends including aperitifs and healthy options are helping to sustain the momentum.

CGA’s Mixed Drinks Report shows that the value of on-trade cocktail sales jumped by 7.5% year on year in the first quarter of 2018—outpacing a 4% increase in the wider spirits market. An estimated 8.7 million British consumers now enjoy cocktails when drinking out-of-home.

The research reveals that the Mojito remains Britain’s favourite cocktail—though the Pornstar Martini is rapidly closing the gap. Aperitifs like the Aperol Spritz are meanwhile increasingly popular across bars, pubs and restaurants, with more than two in five (42%) cocktail drinkers now likely to enjoy a cocktail before a meal. Sparkling cocktails are another big growth area.

CGA’s Mixed Drinks Report also emphasises the value of promotions in cocktail sales. Close to half (44%) of cocktail drinkers say they use promotions like two-for-one deals, Happy Hours or other discounts every or almost every time they order one, and three quarters (77%) are more likely to visit a venue if it has a cocktail promotion. Menus, bartenders’ recommendations and theatre of serve are among the other big factors influencing cocktail drinkers’ choices.

Data gathered for the report shows that healthier cocktails including skinny, low- and no-alcohol options are becoming more and more popular among drinkers. The survey addresses many more key current issues and trends in the cocktail market, including the importance of sustainability and the rising popularity of pink gin.

Charlie Mitchell, senior consumer research manager at CGA, said: “Cocktails have been a boom area of the drinking-out market for a while now, but our Mixed Drinks Report shows that sales and consumer interest are both still on the up. This is a market that is evolving fast, and the popularity of low-sugar and low-alcohol drinks is just one of a host of trends that all businesses selling and supplying cocktails need to be aware of. Staying right on top of people’s needs and preferences is crucial if brands are to protect and increase their share of this lucrative market.”

The full Mixed Drinks Report, addressing sales and trends in cocktails and mixed drinks in pubs, bars and restaurants, and with a separate analysis for each specific sector, will be available for purchase from CGA shortly. For more about its contents and how it can help every business involved in the cocktail market improve their sales, contact Charlie Mitchell at

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