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Drinking-in is now the norm in lockdown Britain, with the public increasingly looking to replicate the pub and bar experience in their kitchens and front rooms. New research from CGA shows that this is leading to significantly more people making cocktails and mixed drinks at home.

The cocktail boom has been one of the on-trade’s success stories of recent years, with a 10% increase in sales value in 2019 alone. Over 10 million regularly drink cocktails when out, a habit now moving to the domestic environment.

CGA’s new Cocktails and Mixed Drinks at Home Report reveals that half (50%) of those who drink cocktails in pubs and bars are now choosing a cocktail or mixed drink at home during lockdown. Pre-COVID, the number was just over a third (37%). In addition, a further 20% are planning to try a cocktail at home.

As lockdown habits continue to evolve, and consumer needs develop, the occasions on which consumers are drinking cocktails is differing vastly from their on-premise equivalents, which are weighted towards “social get-togethers” and special celebrations.

“This heartland of ‘high-tempo’ occasions for cocktails and mixed drinks has been replaced with a lower-key type of occasion at home, as consumers look to their spirits cabinet to “wind down or chill out” as the most cited occasion for cocktails, followed by “a treat or reward”, suggesting consumers are celebrating the ‘little wins’ in lockdown life by making themselves a cocktail,” said Charlie Mitchell, Research & Insight Director at CGA.

However, it is not only relaxed occasions on which consumers are drinking cocktails at home, as the report reveals there is a small group of consumers who are attempting to replicate ‘high tempo’ out-of-home occasions in the comfort of their own homes. Over a quarter (27%) of at-home cocktail drinkers have drank cocktails as a part of a “big night in”, while a further 24% have done so during “virtual sociable get-togethers.

“Skewed towards younger consumers, this group of high-tempo cocktail drinkers are most likely to be new to making cocktails at home, as opposed to those drinkers consuming on lower tempo occasions, who have been drinking cocktails at home regardless of current lockdown measures,” added Mitchell.

These new adopters makeup 26% of at-home cocktail drinkers, and are more likely to fall in the 25-34 age group, while established at-home drinkers are likely to be older, the research shows.

The report suggests different strategies that may be required from producers, suppliers and operators alike trying to capitalise on the opportunities offered by this increased take-up of in-home cocktails.

It is not just the drinks themselves that consumers are looking to replicate and the desire for the “perfect serve”, Instagram-worthy experience of a night-out is moving to at-home consumption. Nearly one in five (18%) cocktail drinkers have plans to buy cocktail glasses during isolation, in addition to the 30% that are already using these in their mixed drinks serves at home. There is a similar story for specialist cocktail equipment, with 16% planning to purchase the likes of stirrers, strainers and shakers, with 24% already having them.

Looking to the future, 60% of people making mixed drinks at home say they “intend to continue making cocktails and/or spirit and mixers at home even when outlets re-open”. However, there is an acknowledgement of the quality of cocktails and mixed drinks that bars and pubs can deliver, with just one in eight at home drinkers (13%) rating their own cocktails as better than those they buy out, while a quarter rate them as significantly worse.

Providing insight into the size of the potential opportunity that cocktails and mixed drinks at home, the different consumer sets that are interacting with it and how to take advantage of this, the CGA Cocktails and Mixed Drinks at Home Report is now available to purchase. For more information contact phillip.montgomery@cga.co.uk

     

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