Booze | February 12, 2020 10:59 am

What We’ll Drink in 2020, According to Bacardi's Annual Trends Report

The new survey predicts a big year for mocktails, dark rum and sustainability

Bacardi's latest cocktail report suggests 100% of bartenders are never this happy to see you

What are you drinking this year?

According to the just released Cocktail Trends Report by Bacardi — the largest privately-held spirits company in the world and home to brands like Bacardi rum, Bombay Sapphire gin, Patrón tequila and Grey Goose vodka — we’re in for a year of low-alcohol drinks, dark rum, big efforts in sustainability, and … vodka soda in a can.

The new report curates trends “based on research with brand ambassadors, the trade and multiple third-party experts,” as well as a few sales facts and figures from the past few years. As part of the report, 7,000 Bacardi employees visited bars in 100 cities in early February.

While the methodology was a bit vague and some of the definitions in the report are lacking (somebody needs to define “premiumize”), there were some interesting findings, including …

  • 55% of bartenders in influential drinking cities like London, New York and Los Angeles believe the no- and low-alcohol trend will continue to grow this year. 

  • 43% of bartenders globally voted dark rum as the top spirit to “premiumize,” slightly ahead of tequila, gin and mezcal. (You can find a good explanation of what constitutes premium rum here … the definitions vary, but let’s just say this is name brand stuff and certainly not a well spirit. Basically, we’re starting to buy more good rum.)

  • “Zero-waste” ingredients are the leading ingredient or mixer of interest (58%) for bartenders in North America and the UK, slightly ahead of ferments (aka kombucha), coffee and flavored tonics. As well, 88% of bartenders consider sustainability when designing a cocktail. 

  • Savory is in: 91% of bartenders are using vegetables in their cocktails.

  • Canned cocktails are in. Ready-to-drink (RTD) options are on the rise, with a 26% increase of vodka soda and flavored RTDs in North America last year.

  • The home bar is a thing, but we drink more when we go out. 55% of American consumers prefer drinking at home, although only 30% of all drinking consumption happens there.

  • We want info on our drinks. 75% of consumers would switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product information beyond the label.

There are a few fun, odd stats as well. “Berry”’ is the top flavor profile for cocktail drinkers in the UK. There was a 42% increase in online searches for the word “mocktail” in 2019. And, sadly, only 2% of on-premise consumers — in contradiction to the enthusiasm shown by bartenders — agree with the statement “I often seek out products that are more sustainable.” 

Check out the graphic below for more insights.

Highlights from Bacardi’s cocktail trends report