As we near the end of 2022, it’s a time for reflection. We’ve seen lots of drink trends come out of this year for the drinks industry, such as vodka, liqueurs and rum drive growth in spirits with premium brands outperforming. We’ve also seen the market respond to a cost-of-living, with 1 in 4 under-35s saying they are drinking less often but treating themselves to better quality when they are out.
Looking ahead to the New Year and what it might hold for the UK on-trade, we’ve compiled our top ten industry trends to watch in 2023, powered by research from PROOF Insight.
1. Tequila & Mezcal
Mexican cuisine is already popular in the UK and is currently eaten regularly by 1 in 3 under 45s. 30% of under 45s already enjoy tequila in cocktails and as a shot, and 1 in 10 enjoy it mixed with tonic.
What’s the difference between tequila and mezcal?
Tequila can only be made using blue agave. These agaves must be grown in one of just 5 Mexican states. The most important of which is Jalisco, where the blue agave originates.
Mezcal producers are allowed to use a number of different types of agave to make their spirit. Mezcal's signature smoky flavour comes from cooking the agave in pits in the ground, which brings a depth and smokiness you don't find in tequila.
Nostalgic drinks allow consumers to briefly escape reality by reminding them of easier times and happy memories; 63% of consumers enjoy food and drink that makes them feel nostalgic.
Look out for:
- Cocktails that include flavours of bubblegum, candyfloss and marshmallows.
- Favourite wines and beers from previous decades
Despite stout’s relatively small share of the beer category at 7.4%, in the half year to September 2022, on-trade volume grew by 3.2%. Stout is the second most rated style of beer, with customers praising the smooth texture and chocolaty flavours. This is driving engagement and innovation.
Stout sales saw a 57% increase in sales volume over the World Cup.
4. Activity-led occasions
Consumers are demanding more from their experiences on-trade. With competitive socialising, gaming and karaoke venues growing in popularity, bars are pivoting from places we sit to drink into places we seek new and exciting experiences.
5. Premium Beer
Demand for premium world lager shows no sign of losing momentum. With 1 in 5 beer drinkers drinking less often but treating themselves to better quality drinks, the premiumisation trend is set to continue.
Draught world lager was the winner of the season during the 2022 winter World Cup – sales of world lager grew by 62% when England played France in the quarterfinals.
6. Conscious convenience
The burden of sustainability is on brands and businesses and customers also expect brands to be conscious of their impact on society. 51% buy drinks brands that are environmentally sustainable.
76% of consumers agree responsibility lies with manufacturers to make environmentally friendly drinks
7. Balanced Wellness
75% of under 45s agree it is important to have ‘treats’ as part of a healthy diet. Consumers are still hyper-aware of the importance of looking after themselves, but for many it is all about balance.
8. Creative/premium low & no alcohol
Bars are expected to get creative with their soft and low & no alcohol options to try and capture more spend from moderating consumers. Other benefits, such as mood or energy boosting, are also attractive to customers. 18% of under 25s would be interested in a low or no alcohol drink that has energy boosting properties, such as CBD.
What are CBD drinks?
CBD drinks can be both alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages that have been infused with cannabidiol (CBD) - a non-psychoactive compound found within the hemp plant. They carry all the same benefits as other CBD products on the market - like CBD oils and supplements - but can be an easier (and tastier) way to get your CBD.
9. Young wine drinkers
63% of wine drinkers don’t class themselves as being ‘very confident’ when choosing wine on-trade and 35% are put off trying new styles for fear of not enjoying it. Staff recommendations, menu nudges and food pairings with simple explanations will drive engagement with the category.
Riesling is set to make a comeback in the mainstream in 2023. Over 1 in 5 UK wine drinkers have recently tried and enjoyed Riesling. Growth will be driven by Germany, which remains the favoured origin – preferred by 68% of Riesling drinkers, followed by New Zealand (28%).
Characteristics of Riesling include a light body and aromas of citrus, stone fruit, and white flowers.
Sources: PROOF Insight 2023 Trend Predictions; MODE; POURtraits panel.