New Nielsen CGA survey details cocktail trends in the U.S.

A glass with a green liquid, limes and ice in it

Cocktails are a staple at every hotel bar, but do you really know what is most popular with consumers and who is drinking what?

Nielsen CGA, a joint venture between Nielsen and CGA Strategy, released insights from their first on-premises survey of consumers for the U.S. market. The survey comprises responses from 15,000 on-premises consumers, all of legal drinking age, to provide a comprehensive look into America's eating and drinking habits in restaurants and at bars.

"To win in this complex on premise market, manufacturers, distributors and retailers need to gain a total consumer view and go beyond simply what is being consumed," said Scott Elliott, SVP of Nielsen CGA. "Essentially this means gaining insight into who is buying what, where, why and crucially—what they do when they are not engaging with your brand."

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Here are some highlights from the study:

General Favorites

  • 23 percent of the U.S. population have drunk a cocktail out of home in the last 3 months
  • Tequila (44 percent) is the favorite liquor base for cocktails in the U.S., followed by: light rum (39 percent), flavored vodka (39 percent), non-flavored vodka (39 percent) and whiskey (27 percent)
  • Margarita (60 percent) is the most popular cocktail in the U.S., followed by: daiquiri (44 percent), piña colada (36 percent), Long Island (33 percent) and mojito (29 percent)
  • 48 percent of consumers feel that cocktail menus with named liquor brands are very important or important when choosing a cocktail

What Americans are Willing to Pay for a Cocktail

  • $8.72 for a standard cocktail
  • Consumers are willing to pay 25 percent more for a cocktail made with premium spirits; the average willingness to spend: $10.98

Brunch Snapshot

  • Around six in 10 Americans are likely to drink alcohol with brunch
  • 24 percent of those who eat out at brunch will drink a cocktail: 45 percent of brunchers would often order mimosa, 36 percent a Bloody Mary and 27 percent a champagne cocktail

But not all hotel guests drink cocktails. As HOTEL MANAGEMENT recently reported, beer, especially flavored beer, is another area of interest for guests.

According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, new flavored beer product launches have grown from just 15 percent of total US beer launches in 2010 to 27 percent of total US beer launches in 2015, an 80-percent increase over the five-year period.

In 2015, 20 percent of beer drinkers drank flavored beer, with usage peaking among women ages 22 to 34 (39 percent), according to Mintel.

The group said that the importance of flavored beer is confirmed by the fact that 57 percent of beer drinkers who increased their beer consumption in 2015 credit this increase to a wider availability of flavors. Overall, as many as three in five (58 percent) U.S. alcohol drinkers say they are interested in fruit flavored beer, with other flavors such as spicy (45 percent) tart/sour (45 percent) and beer blended with juice, tea and soft drinks (49 percent) also showing strong potential.

In general, beer is the nation’s most popular alcoholic drink with nearly one quarter (24 percent) of U.S. adults saying it is the alcoholic beverage they drink most often, according to Mintel. This is significantly higher than any other alcoholic beverage, including wine (16 percent). More than 44 percent of U.S. consumers are beer drinkers, with men (59 percent) twice as likely as women (29 percent) to be drinkers. Beer drinking among millennials (48 percent) and Hispanics (48 percent) is also well above average.

Source: Nightclub & Bar

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