Turns Out Cocktails Are Not Immune to Inflation

No surprise: A new study shows that the costs of cocktails are up

Several types of cocktails on a bar counter. According to one new study, cocktail prices are up by an average of $1 per drink.
The average cocktail price (like everything else) is rising
M.S. Meeuwesen/Unsplash

With very few exceptions, the prices for nearly everything that you buy on a regular basis tend to go up slightly year over year. Sometimes the inflation rate is lower and sometimes it’s higher, but with very few exceptions it represents an increase. That can apply when buying groceries, going to the movies or going out for a drink in equal measure. And if you’ve noticed the price of cocktails increasing lately, you’re not alone — and there’s statistical evidence to bolster that.

As VinePair reports, average cocktail prices across the country increased by one dollar from the last quarter of 2021 to a comparable period in 2022. That’s the result of a study by NielsenIQ, which offers a few interesting details about what drinks people are — and aren’t — buying.

Year-over-year price increases are only part of the story. NielsenIQ’s research also indicates that income from cocktails increased from the third quarter of last year to the fourth quarter. That’s a combination of two factors — more people going to bars and those same people spending more.

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“Seasonality also plays an important role and it’s crucial to align preferred serves with key occasions, which complement the seasons, to ensure a winning cocktail strategy in 2023,” said Andrew Hummel, CGI Strategy’s Client Solutions Director for North America, in a statement. “Despite rising check value, consumers continue to opt for cocktails when prioritizing visits out to bars and restaurants.” (For financial reasons, maybe you should switch to wine?)

The study also reveals one area of cocktail-based consistency — turns out margaritas remain the most popular cocktail in the U.S., followed by martinis and Moscow Mules.


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