Bacardi Predicts How We’ll Drink in 2021
by David Klemt
What will alcohol consumption look like this year? Bacardi has answers.
In association with the Future Laboratory, Bacardi’s second-annual cocktail trends report—a well-sourced 25-page document—is available.
As is the case when we begin a new year, we’re being deluged with trend predictions and reports. I’d say the Bacardi 2021 Cocktail Trends Report goes deeper than most.
The report is organized into five macro trends identified by Bacardi Limited. Let’s get to it!
Reinventing the Bar
I’m not presenting Bacardi’s macro trends in order. Instead, I’m starting with the trend arguably most relevant to operators: bar reinvention.
Industry experts have been pointing to the ease of access to knowledge along with consumer interest in learning more about spirits and cocktails as an important trends for years now. It’s no longer a trend—it’s standard that guests are better informed.
Like other sources, Bacardi predicts guests will seek out more personalized experiences. They also predict guests will want to connect more with bartenders. However, the brand goes deeper in their report.
Bacardi thinks to-go cocktails, cocktail and meal kits, and e-commerce will become standard. Going a step further, the report posits that some venues will create cocktail menus that will change according to weekly inventory; sommeliers will add spirits knowledge to their skillset; and that guests will be eager to try drinks they’ve never had before.
Perhaps most importantly, Bacardi predicts bar culture will become more positive and inclusive, resulting in gender stereotypes—including those inherent to bottle design—will fall to the wayside.
Purpose and Transparency
According to a study conducted by IBM and the National Retail Federation and cited in Bacardi’s report, a massive 70 percent of American and Canadian consumers think it’s important that brands are eco-friend or sustainable.
Bacardi predicts sustainability, transparency, and the authentic embrace of social causes will be crucial this year and beyond.
In response to climate change, sustainability, eco-friendliness, and the zero-waste movement, Bacardi plans to wipe out 80 million plastic bottles with their new biodegradable bottle design, rolling out in 2023.
Pointing to a statistic from ZypMedia—that 36 percent of consumers plan to keep buying from local businesses post-pandemic—Bacardi predicts hyperlocality will grow stronger in 2021. Operators who source more local items, including beverage alcohol, will likely find more support from consumers.
Per a Bacardi survey, 22 percent of consumers across the globe are drinking alcohol less. More than half (55 percent) of “mindful drinkers” are drinking low-ABV options.
Bacardi predicts low- and no-ABV drinks to perform well this year. Spritzes, for example, is on the rise as a bar culture in its own right.
Per Bacardi, zero-proof spirits are getting the most attention of any other category, worldwide.
Mindful drinking is also affecting how spirits are made. Consumers, more conscious of their health because of the pandemic, are showing a preference for beverages free of artificial ingredients. Furthermore, Bacardi expects consumers to seek out drinks that have health-boosting benefits.
The report, as an example, cites a Global Wellness Institute finding that in 2019 alone, “U.S. sales of ginger rose by 94%, while turmeric and garlic sales were up by 68% and 62%.” Today’s consumer is seeking out functional cocktail ingredients.
Drinking by the Numbers
Bacardi’s report puts all the brand’s cards on the table. Operators looking to program or reprogram their menus will find this information helpful.
Consider the info below for delivery and to-go drinks since Nielsen finds that 40 percent of US consumers are interested in make-at-home cocktail kits, 37 percent are interested in pre-made bottled cocktails, and 37 percent are interested in grab-and-go cocktails.
Flavor and Experience: Extreme heat (chilies), Super-sweet, Sour, Bitter, Smoked
Experiences: Pleasure, Nostalgia, Escapism, Quality over quantity, Light-hearted drinks, Flavor-filled indulgences
Most Popular Cocktails, Globally (Descending Order): Low-ABV, Other spritzes, Negroni, Classic cocktails with a twist, G&T (including riffs), Non-alcohol, Whiskey Highball, Espresso Martini, Old Fashioned, Vermouth cocktails
Premiumization Opportunities: Gin, Rum, Tequila
Top 5 Spirits (by Interest): Gin, Mezcal, Tequila, Vermouth, Bitter/Amaro Liqueurs
Top 5 RTDs in North America: Vodka Soda and flavors, Margarita, Moscow Mule, Low-ABV, G&T
Click here to read the report in its entirety.