Aperitifs Add Fresh Fizz To Cocktail Market

Rising interest in aperitifs is driving cocktail sales to new heights, CGA’s latest research into the drinks market reveals.

The new edition of the Mixed Drinks Report shows that cocktail sales continue to surge, with sales by volume and value up by 8.8% and 9.9% respectively in the last 12 months.

While traditional cocktail mixes continue to deliver the bulk of sales, a proliferation of consumers’ tastes is creating new opportunities around eating-out occasions. CGA’s figures show that aperitif sales have grown 12.5% by volume in the last year, and nearly half (47%) of those drinking cocktails with food now find the idea of an aperitif very appealing—up by seven percentage points in the last year alone.

The resurgence of aperitifs and digestifs reflects the growing popularity of cocktails on food-led visits to the on-trade. Restaurants have seen their value of sales increase by 13.8% in the last 12 months, well ahead of the industry-wide average.

The Mixed Drinks Report also uncovers consumers’ latest preferences on spritzes—a drink that nearly three quarters (71%) of cocktail drinkers now say they would choose at least occasionally when they are out.

Soda remains the most popular element of a spritz, and is considered essential by 43% of drinkers, with prosecco (38%), white wine (36%) and lemonade (36%) all close behind.

But there is significant diversification in the spritz sector too, with liqueurs, rose wine and flavoured syrups among many other components cited by consumers. This reflects drinkers’ thirst for new flavours and styles in spritz drinks—especially at the lower-alcohol and healthier end of the category. And while CGA’s research shows that major brands dominate the aperitif market, dynamic new offers and innovations from existing operators are rapidly evolving the sector. Mixes featuring whisky, gin, vodka and limoncello have been among those emerging to compete for cocktail drinkers’ spend over the summer.