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Japanese whiskeys and vermouth are among the most fashionable drinks in London’s top high-end bars, the new 2018 Influencers Report reveals—and events like masterclasses and tastings are surging in popularity too.

The exclusive report from leading drinks research consultancy CGA and DrinkUp.London, the industry insiders’ guide to drinking in London, provides the ultimate guide to London’s best venues and what consumers think about them. It is now available to purchase. 

The report identifies the 100 most influential bars in London—a city now leading the world in the quality of its drinking venues, and where around half (52%) of consumers now drink out at least weekly—nearly twice as many as consumers in the rest of the country (29%).

CGA’s research shows that three quarters (75%) of these ‘Influencer’ bars now stock whiskeys from beyond mainstream producing countries like Scotland and Ireland, with Japanese among the most popular choices. A fifth (21%) of managers at these bars meanwhile tip vermouth as a big drinks trend in 2019.

More than nine in ten (93%) of London’s most influential bars are planning experiential activities over the next 12 months. They include mixologist masterclasses, tasting sessions and meet-the-distiller evenings, all of which have soared in popularity in recent years. Well over half (58%) of visitors to influential bars say they have been to events like these in the last year.

Jonny Jones, Business Unit Director for Drinks at CGA said: “London is the world’s best city for bars and an incubator of trends that reverberate far and wide. For suppliers and operators alike, it is essential to understand exactly how London’s demanding drinkers behave and what trends are coming and going. This report shows how quickly new drinks and serves are adopted, and how events, social media and sustainability are becoming essential elements of the London bar experience. Getting it right across the board sets brands up for success in the lucrative London market—and then further afield.”

The 2018 Influencers Report uncovers many more major bar trends, including:

  • The power of social media. Two thirds (67%) of guests visiting influential bars say they have uploaded a picture of a cocktail to social media—and three quarters (76%) say they have ordered a cocktail they have seen there.
  • The rise of low and no alcohol drinks. More than two thirds (70%) of bar managers tip this as a trend to watch over the next 12 months.
  • The growing importance of sustainability, through things like waste management and banning straws.

“The London bar market never stands still, so the challenge for operators and suppliers is to constantly identify new ways to stay one step ahead of the game,” said Hannah Sharman-Cox, founder of DrinkUp.London.

“An exceptional drinks offer isn’t always enough by itself to cut it with today’s demanding and experimental consumers,” added Sharman-Cox. “Offering something fresh and memorable—like exciting new spirits, innovative combinations of flavours or immersive experiences like masterclasses and tastings—is essential for bars and brands that want to maintain their influential and on-trend reputations.”

The 2018 Influencers Report is based on CGA’s extensive fieldwork gathering stocking, pricing and visibility data, plus surveys of influential London consumers and interviews with top bar managers and industry leaders. It is enhanced by analysis from experts at CGA and DrinkUp.London the insider’s guide to London’s best bars and creators of popular events and festivals including London Cocktail Week.The report can help every drinks supplier and operator deepen their understanding of consumers and sharpen up their sales and marketing strategies. It is available to purchase now, by contacting us at


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