US consumers continue to shift towards tequila-based and wine-based cocktails

Cocktails delivered solid sales growth in the US On Premise in the last quarter of 2023, according to exclusive new research from CGA by NIQ.
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The Quarterly Sales Tracker, powered by CGA’s BeverageTrak service, delivers an array of insights into cocktails across the US, helping suppliers and operators understand consumers’ latest preferences and respond with winning strategies.


The Tracker shows a 5% year-on-year increase in the total cocktail value velocity in the last quarter of 2023. Outlets sold an average of 1,192 cocktails in Q4 across 778 tickets, with both numbers rising by 6%. The average price of a cocktail was $13—up by $1 from Q4 2022.


Nevada retains its status as the most lucrative state for cocktails, with the average outlet selling over twice the number compared to the national average, leading ahead of the District of Columbia, California, and Kansas.


The Margarita remains comfortably the most wanted cocktail in the US, attracting more than a fifth of all sales, while the Martini and Moscow Mule are the next most popular. The fourth quarter also saw the Spritz, Negroni and Espresso Martini gain in popularity, while the Manhattan, Bloody Mary and Lemon Drop lost share. Check data meanwhile shows the Mai Tai commanded the highest average selling price in Q4, just ahead of the Negroni, Espresso Martini and Old Fashioned and Manhattan.


Consumers continue to shift towards tequila-based and wine-based cocktails, the Tracker indicates. Tequila took a 34.1% share of cocktail base sales by value, up by 1.8 percentage points year-on-year—largely at the expense of vodka, which saw share fall by 1.3 percentage points to 28.2%. Wine-based cocktails increased their share by 1.2 percentage points to 6.8% and are now more valuable than rum-based choices.


Matthew Crompton, CGA by NIQ’s regional director – North America, said: “After an excellent final quarter of last year, the cocktail category is well placed for more good growth throughout 2024. While some cocktail choices like the Margarita remain evergreen, this part of the market never stands still, with subtle but significant shifts in consumers’ preferences. Understanding these and responding nimbly with the right promotional and ranging strategies, is going to be vital to sustaining growth, and our Quarterly Sales Tracker provides the ideal bedrock for smart, data-powered decision-making.” 


CGA’s Quarterly Sales Tracker provides best-in-class insights into sales trends in cocktails and all other drinks categories in the US On Premise. To discover more about the solutions and the expert support that is available to help interpret trends at category, segment and brand level in the US On Premise, contact Matthew Crompton here.

Click here to read more about evolving cocktail trends in 2023, and click here for insights into spritz surge in the US On Premise. 

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