Ultra-premium spirits and low-ABV options? Sure. But … mustard?
While always a solid bellwether for the year ahead, Bacardi Limited’s 2022 Trends Report always features a few surprises when it comes to predicing the upcoming state of the drinking world.
A collaboration between the drinks giant — AKA the global brand behind Angel’s Envy, D’usse, Patrón, Bombay Sapphire, Grey Goose and, obviously, Bacardi rum — and trend forecasters The Future Lab (along with info gathered from “top industry leaders, global data and [a] global network of brand ambassadors” that includes over 5,000 people globally), this year’s look ahead reflects the ongoing pandemic and some of the changes in the beverage industry that resulted from us staying at home and becoming more knowledgeable about what we like to imbibe.
Below, we went through the report with Brenda Fiala, Global V.P. Strategy Insights and Analytics at Bacardi, to take a closer look at how we’ll drink in 2022 — where we discuss the eventual return to bars, the more educated drinks consumer and a few outlier drinking predictions … which does include, yes, a nod to what we’d think of as a yellowish condiment.
InsideHook: When you release reports, do you ever look back at the previous year and see what you got right or what didn’t happen? For example, did consumers actually just revert to pre-Covid trends?
Brenda Fiala: We thought there would be a faster return to bars and restaurants, but people’s level of comfort remains mixed and variable, from being cautious in one moment to carefree in others. We’re starting to see people come back to bars in markets that are open and have been working with our bar partners to help with their safety measures.
What were some highlights of the new trends report?
Overall, the trends we discovered in last year’s report continue to ring true going into 2022. We hear from most people that they are more thoughtful about their drink choices and how they socialize. More people tell us they are enjoying premium prepared cocktails or ready-to-drink cocktails (RTDs) made with quality spirits. Others, especially in Europe, are seeking out non-alcoholic or low-alcohol (NoLo) cocktails. Definitely watch this trend in 2022.
And people’s desire for high-quality cocktails really took hold during the lockdown. They enjoyed leveling up their cocktail-making skills. They are actively seeking more premium spirits and experimenting with new spirits and new cocktails.
And consumers have continued to really care about the planet and are more actively choosing spirits that show similar values in sustainability. Interest in this area within the spirits space has grown, with many willing to pay more for ethically sourced regenerative refreshments and for brands that support social justice or sustainability causes.
Has hard seltzer hit a peak? The report seems to emphasize the rise of canned cocktails in the RTD market.
Many people are looking for an alternative to beer. While in the past people have turned first to hard seltzers, we are hearing from consumers that they prefer RTDs made with real spirits. There’s a focus on natural and sophisticatedly flavored RTD options that we’re seeing drive desire for premium prepared cocktails with natural and refreshing flavors. Recent statistics from
IWSR show that the U.S. sales volume for seltzer has slowed to 130% last year after a peak growth of 246% in 2018.
The demand for convenient canned cocktails made with real spirits (vodka, tequila, rum, etc.), unlike their malt-based hard-seltzer counterparts, is growing 15 times the rate of hard seltzers, showing that consumers are focusing on delicious flavor profiles and quality ingredients.
I wanted to go behind the numbers a bit. For example, if 36 percent of people surveyed say they’ll be asking for mojitos, how is this number obtained? And why do you think that cocktail now has such a high number of fans?
The numbers were based on consumer surveys we ran in multiple markets across the globe, including the U.S., the U.K., India, Mexico and South Africa.
Our research indicated that people want to carry the joy of summer throughout the year, and we’re seeing a desire for traditional summer cocktails, even in the winter months. We see many cocktail drinkers gravitating towards summer classics like mojitos in the new year, a cocktail that brings together simple, natural ingredients to create something unique and enjoyable both at home and in a bar.
What number or trend surprised you the most?
It was great to see that people are adding the creation of Christmas Cocktails as a new part of their holiday traditions. People tell us they are planning and preparing a special cocktail to enjoy with friends and family before the meal or as a dessert.
The good news is that all spirits are up — but it seems like tequila is particularly hot right now (as Drizly also reported). Is there another non-whiskey spirit that you see gaining traction this year?
It’s no surprise to us that tequila is so sought after as its versatility make it the perfect base spirit in so many cocktails. Vodka, gin and brandy are also seeing high demand globally and are amongst the top five spirits consumers expect to be drinking in 2022. Bourbon is another spirit on the rise around the world.
The report mentioned new flavors — I had to look up what furikake was — and I was stunned that hot mustard was an ingredient that’s getting some traction in the bar world. I hadn’t seen ingredients like listed before.
Yes! Hot mustard is taking over from Yuzu’s popularity in 2021. Definitely a surprise to most when they first hear it, but once you give it a try, you will taste for yourself what all the hype is about — the mustard provides the perfect combination of sweet and savory with a bit of a kick. Most often, mustard is used in small amounts to compliment an already-savory concoction like a Bloody Mary or martini.
Though this is the first time we have seen hot mustard specifically appear on the Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report, the 2021 report revealed that consumers and industry experts alike were interested in extreme flavor profiles in their cocktails – for example, spicy, smoky, sour, super sweet and bitter, a trend that we’re seeing remnants of in 2022. Overall, we are finding that consumers have been extremely open-minded and even eager to try out drinking experiences that may be a bit more foreign to them.
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