The USA has a higher cocktail consumption rate and more ingrained cocktail culture than either Britain or France, new research from CGA Strategy reveals, presenting a great opportunity for British bars and suppliers to learn from their cross-Atlantic counterparts.

The International Cocktail Report polls consumers in Britain, the US and France, and shows how cocktails in Great Britain have moved beyond small groups of drinkers and high-end venues, with nearly four in five (78%) British bars now selling them. But the American market remains more developed, with US drinkers having an average repertoire of 6.7 ‘go to’ cocktails, compared to 5.3 in Britain and 5.6 in France. Other findings include:

·         Seasonality is apparent in Britain, where 94% of cocktail drinkers enjoy them in the summer but just 45% in winter—compared to 74% who do so in the US and 54% in France

·         The mojito the most popular cocktail option in Britain and France by some distance—but the US’ most popular choice is the margarita

·         British cocktail drinkers buy an average of 3.1 cocktails per visit—nearly as many as their counterparts in the US (3.2), and substantially more than French drinkers (1.9).

The report also identifies trends in mixed drinks that operators must learn from—like the surging popularity of spirits like tequila, mescal and pisco—and dispels some myths about cocktail drinkers. “Casting cocktails as a category for young females is unfair and outdated,” the report argues. “A cocktail offer that pigeonholes consumers will not enjoy the success of one catering for gender, age and variety.”

There are huge opportunities in the British mixed drinks market, the report concludes—especially if bars and suppliers can persuade people to enjoy cocktails across the day, as they do in the US and France. Currently only 5% of British cocktail drinkers consume them before 2pm—but 44% of US drinkers who eat out at brunch do so with a cocktail.

Of the report, Rachel Perryman, CGA Client Services Director said; “In Britain the cocktail heartland is still a high tempo, drink-focused night, but in the US there are far fewer preconceived barriers around ‘the right occasion’ for cocktails. An opportunity exists to make like our American and French counterparts and broaden our cocktail consumption across the occasions and dayparts.”

The International Cocktail Report is based on interviews with 5,300 out-of-home cocktail drinkers in Britain, France and the US. For more information, please call CGA Strategy on 0161 476 8330 or visit


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