Gin for men, boozier women, a premium on experiences and the growth of lower alcohol. Such are the key findings of an on-trade super-panel put together by Enotria and Coe to discuss the latest on-trade trends, revealed exclusively to Imbibe.
Including bar legend Mal Evans (Mojo), ex-Artesian’s Alex Kratena, New Moon Pub Group’s Paul Newman, writer/blogger Rebecca Williams and chef Paul Rankin, E&C’s panel covered all areas of the on-trade and all parts of the country.
In uncertain economic times, our panel felt that people were going out less, but spending more when they did so, and tending to gravitate to venues that they trust.
‘They’re going to places where they’ll get the full guest experience, and [will] be spoilt. Trust is the key,’ said Evans.
Interestingly, the panel detected big shifts in the drinking patterns of both sexes. Men were generally drinking less – and gravitating away from pints and towards gin, while women were drinking more.
There were obvious opportunities here for re-targeting both sexes, with the chance to trade men up from bottles to cocktails, and a reworking of cocktail menus to make them more female-targeted.
The other big trend, naturally, was the drinking habits of millennials, who tend to place a premium on their overall experience – particularly how good it will look photographed and posted on social media.
‘They care more about their social media image and have less trust in big corporations’ brands,’ said Kratena.
That said, the panel were quick to point out that it’s not all about Generation Smartphone, and that the wealthy Baby Boomers are receptive to some extra effort.
‘Take them on a journey, tell them a story and you’ll engage them and they’ll be back with their friends spending time and money,’ said Evans.
The boom in cocktails was an obvious – and ongoing – trend for all venues, not just bars. ‘If you’re not offering them, you’re missing out,’ added Newman.
But one cocktail area remained under-exploited, and behind consumer trends. Our panel felt that more needed to be done with lower (or non-) alcohol cocktails.
‘Consumers are now actively looking for them and it’s up to us to make them part of the offer,' said Rankin.