CGA: Cocktail popularity grows in the on-premise

The CGA’s OPUS consumer study has seen cocktails ‘gaining significant traction’ as drinkers returned to bars and venues, with Margaritas and Mojitos amongst the most popular choices.

CGA’s OPUS (‘On Premise User Study’) delves deep into consumer insights with a national representative sample of Australian on-premise visitors. OPUS has a specific focus on drinker behaviour, revealing insights into category drivers, sub-category preferences and preferred serves.

Following March’s prediction of an on-premise revival, CGA has revealed further OPUS findings, showing that 28 per cent of Australians say they are drinking more cocktails in bars and restaurants than the last year.

This result is supported by the perspective of bartenders themselves, with 59 per cent of those surveyed ‘stating that they believe cocktails are in the best position to thrive in 2022’, with bartenders more confident about the future of cocktails than any other category.

30 per cent of Australian consumers are choosing cocktails when visiting bars and venues. In context alongside other categories, beer continues to lead the way in overall popularity, with 47 per cent of on-premise consumers, while wine is second with 41 per cent and spirits third with 36 per cent.

OPUS also investigates beyond the overarching category type, exploring what the most popular ‘serves’ of cocktail are amongst drinkers. Both the Mojito and the Margarita attract 24 per cent of drinkers each, followed by the Pina Colada at 22 per cent, and the Espresso Martini, which is ordered by just over a fifth of drinkers (21 per cent).

The study revealed insights into the consumption occasion, showing that 45 per cent of drinkers are ‘looking for a treat’ when choosing to drink cocktails. CGA stated that ‘this aligns broadly with the premiumisation trend identified in the on-premise channel around the world.’

Moreover, OPUS offers an understanding of the key decision-drivers for on-premise operators, revealing that a quarter of consumers found that detailed menu descriptions influenced their decision to order a certain cocktail. The second most important decision-driver was ‘bartender recommendation’ – cited by 24 per cent of consumers.

Scott Elliot, the Managing Director of CGA, was on-hand to give some context to the study’s findings, with key takeaways for both operators, and suppliers.

“Clearly, a ‘one size fits all’ approach to On Premise strategy is outdated and insight-led channel and occasion-based tactics are required now more than ever.

“Operators today have enough challenges to deal with and absolutely must get the support they need from sophisticated drinks suppliers. Not just in terms of relevant trends and evidence-based recommendations but also in practical help around menu creation, operational and advocacy training, support in effective pre-batching techniques and many more elements that are needed to create a compelling and operationally manageable cocktail program,” Scott said.

“Here in Australian Cocktail Month, it is great to objectively see how important Cocktails are to the On Premise,” Scott concluded.

OPUS will launch into New Zealand in June, following its successes in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK and France.

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