How Seasons Affect What Sells On Premise

In the summer, a substantial 79% of U.S. On-Premise consumers seek refreshing cocktails to cool down. Iced cocktails dominate too, with 57% of people choosing them compared to just 17% in the colder season, according to the latest Consumer Impact Report from CGA by NIQ.

In winter however, people’s focus shifts towards warming beverages (47%), with consumers choosing them when in the On Premise. Interestingly, even during the winter, a significant 43% of drinkers still opt for cooling drinks, suggesting opportunities for more refreshing options during the colder months.

Meanwhile, other purchase drivers such as cocktails that pair well with food, their sessionability (can drink multiple), and their colour do not show significant seasonal differences. Regardless of the season however, colour does play a big part in influencing consumer choices when selecting cocktails. The report reveals that pink and red cocktails hold the highest appeal, attracting a substantial 53% of consumers. Orange and blue closely follow, capturing the interest of 50% and 48% of cocktail drinkers, respectively. Bars and restaurants can leverage colour psychology to their advantage by creating visually enticing cocktails that align with customer preferences.

Cocktail flavour is also crucial in attracting consumer interest, too. During the summer, fruity, sweet, and refreshing profiles dominate, appealing to 56% of consumers, and berry- and citrus-flavoured drinks follow closely at 53% and 42%, respectively. In contrast, the winter season witnesses a shift towards heartier aromas, particularly coffee-based cocktails (37%), as the top choice for winter users, with creamy profiles and hot drinks (28%) following. These insights underscore the importance of crafting seasonally relevant cocktail menus to cater to varying palates.

When it comes to cocktail choices, consumers exhibit a preference for both familiarity and uniqueness during the summer. Well-known recipes – like Margaritas – hold the top spot, preferred by 64% of consumers, yet riffs on these classics appeal to 53% of cocktail drinkers. Additionally, consumers express an inclination towards signature cocktails (45%) that are unique to a specific venue.

Bars and restaurants can capitalise on these preferences by offering a mix of classic favourites and innovative concoctions, yet venues can also rely on bartenders to influence consumers’ choices - 60% of cocktail drinkers admit to taking a recommendation from bar staff when selecting a drink.

Matt Crompton, Regional Director – North America, said: “The US On Premise cocktail scene is a dynamic landscape influenced by seasonal preferences. By crafting seasonally relevant cocktail menus, harnessing the power of colour psychology, and training bartenders as brand or category ambassadors, brands and operators can effectively cater to the diverse taste preferences of American customers and seize new opportunities in the market.”

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