Shake it up!

With consumers experimenting with new tastes and varieties of drinks, cocktails are mixing up the alcohol market. And with customers demanding more from their wholesalers, Diageo Bar Academy Trainer Rob Poulter reveals how a bit of knowledge can go a long way

1. Don’t ignore the numbers

“Cocktails certainly continue to be a popular trend for drinkers, particularly during the festive period.

“This can be attributed to the fact that 69% of shoppers plan to trade up their alcohol choices over this period, and 47% of consumers say they’re more likely to experiment with different drinks during the
Christmas party season.

“We believe that cocktails will continue to grow in popularity within the on-trade, as consumers continue to look for greater choice and richer experiences when they go out. We believe that we will also continue to see this reflected in the off-trade as consumers seek to recreate these experiences at home.”


Highlight popular recipes and which products sell together rather than leaving customers to work it out for themselves.


2. Consumer tastes are changing

“One of the most interesting trends in the out-of-home market is a clear increase in single malts being used in cocktails. The best bars in the world have never been afraid to feature single malts on their cocktail lists, with more bars appreciating the diversity of taste, texture and flavour that single malts can offer – realising they can be very versatile too.

“In addition, millennials are drinking less than their parents, with many looking to achieve a more balanced lifestyle by drinking better and not more. Therefore, there is a growing trend for low- or no-alcohol cocktail options, which provide the same depth of flavour and sense of occasion as an alcoholic drink.

“Diageo’s portfolio caters for this trend, including three Seedlip variants that can be used to make a variety of great-tasting cocktails, as well as with Gordon’s Ultra Low Alcohol G&T – a low-alcohol drink in two flavour variants that doesn’t compromise on taste and contains the same botanicals as a classic gin and tonic.”


Don’t just rely solely on traditional favourites. Customers will be looking for on-trend drinks, so make them easy to find..


3. Keep an eye on your spirit level

“Gin is the clear winner when it comes to the most popular spirit, with double-digit volume growth in the past three years – that’s up 33.2% in volume terms and 38% in value in the past 12 months alone (CGA OPM MAT data for 12 months to 14 July 2018). Pink gin is particularly popular and is driving the growth of gin within the on-trade.

“However, darker spirit categories, such as rum and whisky, are also showing growth and are hitting the market on consumer demand. Golden rum has seen growth of 10.9%, dark rum of 8.6% and Irish whisky of 2.8%.”


Stock a wider gin range or give darker spirits more prominence in depot. But keep an eye on latest trends to adapt.


4. Cocktails grow in popularity at home

“Creating cocktails at home is currently a huge trend for consumers as people look to replicate what they’ve seen in pubs and bars in their own homes.

“Typically, cocktails tend to be replicated at home during special occasions, where we’re seeing a growing trend for champagne and prosecco cocktails.

“There has also been a considerable increase in the number of ready-to-serve cocktails now available in supermarkets, which makes it easier for consumers to recreate specific cocktails that they have enjoyed in the on-trade without buying several bottles of spirits.”


Make a dedicated cocktail section in depot, but don’t be afraid to put spirits and pre-made drinks alongside each other.


5. Innovative promotion is crucial

“An effective method of demonstrating the versatility of core spirits in a wholesale environment is to create an in-depot bar.

“This serves as a useful tool to showcase simple and innovative serve suggestions that will help inspire retailers and encourage great spirits sales.

“If space is at a premium, we recommend using POS materials and wobblers to highlight inspirational serve suggestions. Wholesalers can also personalise their offering using Managers’ Choice or Cocktail of the Day labels around their spirits offering to encourage and promote the different


Be innovative to show off key products. Making a good cocktail takes multiple ingredients, so make sure it’s clear to customers what needs to be sold together.

Alcohol cocktails Diageo trends wholesale