Leading mobile ordering and payment platform me&u has revealed that on-premise spirit sales have soared over the past year, with sales in pubs and bars increasing by 400 per cent year on year from March 2020 to March 2021.

The me&u data showed that the most popular spirits are vodka, gin, rum and then whiskey, with vodka and gin roughly doubling in demand. Me&u Founder, Stevan Premutico, said that as Australia has begun its journey out of the pandemic a new consumer has appeared.

“We’ve seen a new type of customer emerge post-COVID and a big comeback recently in regards to spirits and the custom-style drinks list,” Premutico said.

“We believe this is because Aussies were ready to be more curious, adventurous and explore a more varied drinks list after being stuck at home for long periods during COVID-19. Customers were mostly consuming beers and wines during their time spent in isolation, but once the restrictions were lifted, we saw an increase in embracing a more distinct beverage like spirits and cocktails.”

Premutico also said that there were other trends emerging in the post-lockdown scene.

“Venues are also reporting that customer behaviour has shown an increase in sober curiosity and a demand for alternative drinks and more non-alcoholic beverages on menus for those who still want to go out to pubs and bars and feel a part of the occasion,” he said.

“Melbourne venue, Wesley Anne, has seen a 50 per cent increase in sales of non-alcoholic beverages since October last year, and me&u predicts that this category will continue to see massive growth over the next year with its venue partners already seeing such a noticeable shift.”

One of the things helping boost spirits sales is the personalisation the venues can implement with platforms like me&u, which make it easier for customers to choose their favourite local or international premium brands.

Customers are able to see a venues entire spirit range and the platforms encourage choice by prompting customers with different spirits brands and making it less intimidating for customers who may otherwise opt for the house pour out of ease. The Royal Oak in Double Bay has seen 70 per cent of its vodka orders through me&u request a premium brand, like Grey Goose or Belvedere.

Matthew Murray, Group General Manager of Royal Hotels Group, said: “Since we introduced the technology, we have seen guest behaviour change. Customers no longer feel silly for not being able to pronounce a brand correctly or feel uncomfortable asking for the price difference between items. It is now all at their fingertips and they are happy to explore the ranges we have on offer and spend appropriately.”

Cocktails have also made up almost 20 per cent of all drinks ordered on me&u, a sharp increase from pre-COVID behaviour, with customers excited to be out in venues again and happy to spend money on skillfully prepared drinks.

With me&u, menus also have the ability to feature key items with imagery and descriptions at the top of their menu, inspiring people to try new cocktails over standard beers.

Murray added: “It’s not really surprising to see the uplift we have experienced in certain categories of spirits and cocktails. It’s reflective of the tech; visual prompts help how our customers interact with our different offerings and make conscious decisions to step up from an entry level item.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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