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As cash-strapped consumers renegotiate their alcohol purchasing behavior, Bacardi Limited believes cocktail drinkers will focus on quality over quantity this year.
In its fifth annual cocktail trends report, the alcohol giant predicted the continued growth in moderation, the current uncertain economic climate and a desire for escapism will all inform which spirits consumers choose to buy.
Almost half of the people who say they drink low and no-alcohol beverages only do so on select occasions and consume full-alcohol spirits at other times, according to Bacardi’s report.
Brenda Fiala, Bacardi’s global vice president of strategy, insights and analytics, told Food Dive consumers who would have otherwise gone to a bar to drink are finding ways to make their cocktails in a more economical way by making them at home, using the ingredients available to them.
“If you’re on a budget you can get a basic tonic or seltzer, mix your gin with seltzer, and from there you have an endless variety,” Fiala said. “People are adding kitchen spices in their drinks, such as rum with a spiced cinnamon stick.”
According to Bacardi’s report, consumers are also embracing cocktails with natural ingredients like florals and aromatics. In its consumer survey, 44% of young U.S. consumers said they would drink more cocktails made with natural ingredients.
The rum maker also said spicy and zesty flavors are gaining steam with bartenders and at-home cocktail makers as they experiment. And (cut) Despite tech advancements opening new possibilities for personalized cocktails, 80% of young consumers indicated that they want to maintain the personal connection and finesse bartenders can deliver, while still being open to AI-generated selections.
While consumers also seek variety from alcohol, Fiala said many drinkers surveyed signaled a desire to return to their nostalgic favorites, like the gin and tonic, martinis with a twist and single malt whiskeys.
“People said the gin boom was over, but cocktails infusing Bombay Sapphire are trending according to consumer data,” Fiala said. “A lot of spirits are cyclical.”
Home consumption will continue to grow as consumers seek high-quality luxury lifestyle items while on a budget, according to Bacardi’s report. Fiala cited popular TikTok videos where consumers discuss how purchasing spirits like whiskey is more affordable than continuously buying beer because they can be consumed over a longer period.
Tequila ranked as the spirits category’s number one premium offering in the Bacardi survey. The premium mezcal market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16% over the next five years, according to IWSR data cited by the company. Last September, Bacardi announced it fully acquired Ilegal Mezcal, after partnering with the premium spirits brand for nearly a decade.
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