The trends that will define 2024’s cocktail culture

Bacardi Limited has published its fifth annual Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report, which outlines its predictions for the key cocktail trends that will drive the bar world in 2024.

The report is created in partnership with The Future Laboratory and draws research, interviews and insights from bartenders and others in the cocktail world to highlight the five key trends and cocktail experiences you can expect to see over the next 12 months.

Speaking about the report, Brenda Fiala, Global Vice President of Strategy, Insights & Analytics at Bacardi said: “As 2024 arrives, people are looking to settle into the unsettled – welcoming tastes of optimism into our reality. In this landscape, people are reshaping cocktail culture, infusing it with fresh perspectives and finding memorable experiences back at the bar with friends.

“From redefining moderate drinking to a surge in sustainable attitudes, Bacardi is at the forefront, championing a world where people-driven cocktail culture thrives through innovation, experimentation, and overall better moments.”

The five defining cocktail trends for 2024:

Limited Edition Drinks

With next-gen drinkers driving a ‘less but better’ approach to their drinking, this brings a shift in premiumisation with spirits transformed into coveted collector items. This will see forward-thinking brands enhancing limited-edition bottles through crafted storytelling.

In addition the NoLo category will continue to evolve as consumers look to moderate consumption through choosing NoLo options on certain occasions, but do not want to compromise on choice, quality, flavour or social connections.

Innovative Aging and Bold Pairings

You can expect to see a new era of innovation for dark, aged spirits through 2024 and brands embrace new and unique aging methods as well as unusual flavour combinations.

Distillers are discovering new sources of innovation and are being supported by their brands in regional experimentation to drive bold and unexpected pairings.

Enjoyers of dark, aged spirits are diversifying their palates and rum-based cocktails are continuing to grow in popularity, while Tequila ranked as the number one premiumisation category in the Bacardi Global Consumer Survey 2023 and Mezcal was named the next to premiumise.

Escapism Moments

Using cocktails to transport consumers across destinations and even eras is nothing new, with flavours and drinks helping to recreate nostalgic and convivial moments all year round.

In 2024, the link between drinks and destinations will deepen, with classic cocktails and European flavours whisking drinkers from the beach to the bar.

This evolution isn’t just about where but also when consumers enjoy drinks, with sundowner cocktails expected to grow in popularity next year.

Sustainability and Environment

The importance of sustainability will continue to grow in 2024 and drinks brands will redefine their connection to the environment through intentional ingredients and eco-friendly practices.

Consumers will also reframe their relationship to the natural world, impacting where they spend their time, the brands they support, and what they consume.

In the drinks world, 2024 will see brands and bartenders take a holistic approach to nature and its flavours – harnessing sustainably sourced aromatics, florals, botanicals and oils to create cocktail experiences uniquely rooted in nature.

Tasty Tech

The continued evolution of AI will build on the consumer desire for more personalised experiences and AI is introducing exciting opportunities for tailored cocktail experiences, accessible anytime and anywhere.

For the drinks industry, AI’s evolution will create all-new paths to experimentation and discovery, with brand innovators using the technology as a tool to bring consumers closer to branded cocktails and experiences, regardless of their location.

While 8 in 10 younger consumers across select markets are looking to explore AI recommendations, they are adamant about maintaining the emotional connection and artistic finesse that only bartenders can provide.

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