Building a strategy to entice Irish Spirits drinkers with the perfect serve

Mixed serves are emerging as the greatest opportunity for connecting with spirit-drinking consumers beyond traditional late-night scenarios in the Irish On Premise.
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Trade fluctuated across Ireland’s On Premise in 2023, with spirits sales bearing the brunt of these market shifts. In Northern Ireland declines in spirits have softened considerably throughout the festive period, gaining +29% value growth between November 2023 and January 2024. While trade in The Republic of Ireland demonstrates similar trends, with spirits gaining +23% value growth between November and January.


Ongoing cost-of-living concerns and challenges posed by beer-dominated events indicate that positioning enticing Spirits offerings is more crucial than ever. Spirits, traditionally linked with high-tempo late-night visits, are finding new relevance in relaxed drinks and casual dining settings through longer mixed serves. Furthermore, these thirst-quenching serves are perceived by consumers as offering value for money, thereby driving opportunities for both spirits and soft drink brands.


The latest edition of CGA by NIQ’s OPUS Mixed Drinks Report sheds light on untapped ways drinks suppliers, brand teams and operators can engage spirit lovers more effectively by understanding their preferences, behaviours, and the optimal settings for On Premise occasions, offering guidance for brands looking to enhance visibility by understanding consumer preferences for mixed drinks.


Consumers are willing to spend on average €2.60 more per serve for Spirit with a mixer than Draught Beer. The spirits consumer group is highly engaged with the On Premise – 86% of spirits consumers visit bars and restaurants at least once a month. With a lucrative demographic to tap into, it is important to understand the broadening the appeal of Spirits through longer serves to boost success rates.


Consumers’ preferred serve style for spirits amongst over half of consumers (57%) when out for a drink in venues is ‘with a mixer’. This preference places it higher than the 43% of spirit drinkers who opt for cocktails, which are typically associated with special and treat occasions. Additionally, the preference for bottled mixers over draught options, plus a higher demand for premium mixers in gin drinks, are noted as crucial consumer trends. Vodka and rum are favoured with Cola or Diet Cola, whereas gin is commonly enjoyed in the classic G&T format.


Sian Brennan, client director – Ireland said: “Our latest research signposts the path for drinks brands, suppliers, and operators to meet the evolving demands of Spirits consumers. By adapting offerings to align with consumer preferences for mixed serves, there’s plenty of optimisation opportunities throughout the day and night, ensuring our industry thrives, even in challenging times.”



The latest edition of CGA’s Mixed Drinks Report explores exclusive insights into the habits and preferences of mixed drinks consumers, revealing how to get ahead in an ultra-competitive market. Using CGA’s OPUS, the Mixed Drinks Report is a rich resource of data and insights, revealing how consumers are engaging with restaurants, pubs and bars to help suppliers and operators answer category, channel, occasion and brand questions and optimise sales and marketing strategies across Ireland and Northern Ireland. To learn more, email Sian Brennan here.

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