By Stefanie Collins, editor BARS&clubs
The recently released IWSR US On-Premise Insights: Cocktail Trends report has revealed that the Old Fashioned is the most mentioned cocktail on menus heading into 2017, whisk(e)y cocktails in general have a 23 per cent share across craft bar menus, and consumers are increasingly searching for whisk(e)y cocktail recipes online.
The report spans cocktails, categories and brands on menus at leading craft cocktail bars across 25 US cities, and shows that the Bourbon- or rye-based Old Fashioned and vodka-based Moscow Mule account for a combined 30 per cent of cocktail menu mentions.
Interestingly, when the menus are broken down by category, whisk(e)y cocktails are most prevalent across craft bar menus with a 23 per cent share, followed by rum on 16 per cent and gin on 15 per cent.
However, it isn’t just the classic version of an Old Fashioned that is trending. Popular variations include barrel-aged, sherried and vinegar varieties, as well as those containing flavour profiles such as walnut, chocolate, fig, ginger, cherry and more. Additionally, 45 per cent of on-premise operators surveyed believe the Old Fashioned is trending among consumers.
The data also shows that consumer search interest in the Old Fashioned spikes around the holidays, with online searches for whisk(e)y-, gin- and rum-based cocktails like the Sazerac, Manhattan, Daiquiri, Dark n' Stormy and Negroni all trending upwards.
The IWSR US On-Premise Insights: Cocktail Trends report also investigated more than 6,000 brands listed on craft bar menus, ranking the most mentioned brands by category.
Buffalo Trace is the number one Bourbon brand on tracked craft bar menus, followed by Bulleit, Four Roses and Maker’s Mark. In the rum category, Plantation 3 Stars and Gosling’s ranked highest. Interestingly, nearly three-quarters of on-premise operators surveyed believe that mentioning the brand name in a cocktail description is an important factor when selling drinks to consumers.
The distilled spirits segment of the alcohol industry, is the only category that is projected to increase its on-premise market share over the next five years.
With the beer and wine segments expected to decrease their market share by approximately minus-one per cent, spirits are projected to increase by 0.6 per cent – to the period ending 2021 – to a total 23.5 per cent share in the on-premise.