The 2021 Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report

When you’re not drinking at home, get ready to embrace heat, RTDs, interesting twists on classic cocktails and low/no-ABV drinks

By: Tiff Christie|February 10,2021

Global premium spirits company Bacardi Limited has just released their 2021 Cocktail Trends Report which looks ahead at the key trends impacting cocktail consumption and the spirits business in 2021.

Created in association with The Future Laboratory, the report draws on insights from Bacardi-led consumer and brand ambassador surveys, interviews with the bar and restaurant trade, Nielsen CGA data, and The Future Laboratory’s independent research.


Highlighting five macro trends: home premise, pleasure revolution, bar reinvention, post-purpose brands, and mindful consumption, the predictions indicate that the behaviours we started to see last year, will further take hold as this year progresses.

Home Premise

As we are all aware, the pandemic has made home the focal point of our social lives and this is a trend that the report believes will not only continue but also increase. While consumers are making more cocktails at home, it is the RTD market that is leading the charge when it comes to drinking at home. But whether it is spirits or pre-made drinks that are being bought, the role of online purchasing has exploded with e-commerce alcohol expected to grow to a $45.5 billion business in the top 10 markets by 2024.

While the US is looking to Vodka Soda variation and Margaritas, Europe is staying with their G&Ts, and Negronis as their RTDs of choice.

Heat will be key, with cocktails such as the Chilitini, Chili Whiskey Sour, Chili Libre and Chili Bloody Mary.

Pleasure Revolution

No matter what it being drunk, the report predicts that quality over quantity is the real movement, but within that, there will be a focus on extreme drinks that burn, cool, tingle and comfort in high demand.

In other words, the report predicts that the future of cocktails will lie less with pure mixology and instead with alchemy and disruption. We will be seeing more twists on classic cocktails that look to intensify flavours, highlighting the spicy, smoky, super-sweet, and bitter tastes.

So watch out for a resurgence of tiki, sparkling drinks, hard slushies, and caffeine-laden tipples.

The top spirits of interest globally were gin, mezcal, and tequila, with the latter growing particularly strong in North America.


Bar Reinvention

Coming out of lockdown, bars will be met with a much more savvy clientele that will offer more personalized and unique concepts. According to Bacardi’s own Holiday Survey 2020, customers are already keen to sample drinks that they would never have tried pre-lockdown.

Digital solutions will also become far more prevalent in this coming year in an attempt to make bars more accessible to everyone. This thinking will be extended also into a more genderless approach in branding and bottle design.

Post-Purpose Brands

Sustainability will continue to be a high priority both for bars and spirits companies, with transparency and zero-waste the buzz words to watch. biodegradable bottles, brandies “rescued” from smoke-tainted grapes at vineyards in high wildfire areas and bars switching to hyperlocal brands and ingredients.

Consumers will continue to follow through on their desire to support local brands and businesses, including bars and restaurants, which they developed during the Covid-19 crisis.


Mindful Consumption

Embraced by drinkers and non-drinkers alike, the no- and the low-alcohol market will continue to expand. The Bacardi Global Brand Ambassador Survey predicts that globally 22% of consumers are drinking less, while 55% of mindful drinkers are consuming low-ABV drinks. It is believed that consumers are more open to trying 0% options, as a more experimental way of living emerges.

Consumers are also looking for fewer artificial additives and reduced refined sugar in their drinks and are actively seeking out cleaner drinks with small-batch artisan credibility.

Understandably, immune-system boosting ingredients have come to the fore, providing a way for consumers to feel reassured they are doing their best to maintain their health.

To read the report, go to Bacardi 2021 Cocktail Trends

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