The activity, called Back to the Bar, brings everyone at Bacardi together for a day of "barstool research" with bartenders who are the trend spotters and tastemakers of the spirits business and a direct link to consumers. According to Nielsen CGA, 40% of revenue in bars is influenced by bartenders as they are the go-to experts to help you pick your drink.
As part of the third iteration of Back to the Bar, the largest privately-held spirits company sheds light on what's creating excitement for bartenders with the release of the Bacardi 2020 Cocktail Trends Report.
The report highlights trends based on insights captured from a survey Bacardi ran with bartenders and bar ambassadors in 2019, as well as third-party research from the world's leading consumer insights firms.
Among the findings of the Bacardi 2020 Cocktail Trends Report are that:
- Mindful drinking goes mainstream, with 83% of bartenders citing that low-alcohol drinks are popular and an increase of 42% in online searches with the word "mocktail" in 2019 (Technomic Behind the Bar Insights, 2019 and Google Trends, 2019)
- The UK no and low-alcohol spirits market is forecast to grow 81% by 2022 (ISWR 2019)
- Natural products are in the spotlight with 31% of bartenders increasingly interested in local, fresh ingredients (Global Brand Ambassador Survey (GBAS), 2019)
- 45% of British consumers say berry is their favourite cocktail flavour profile (GGA Mixed Drinks Report 2019)
- The culinary cocktail trend borrows methods and techniques from the kitchen and champions fresh, seasonal, savory and herbal ingredients – 91% of bartenders use vegetables in their cocktails
- Dark rum is leading the premium game – 43% of bartenders ranked it as the top spirit to premiumize (GBAS, 2019)
- Sustainability is at the forefront of every consumer's mind, and it's reflected in the bar – 66% of bartenders mention that sustainable drinks are in demand right now (Technomic Behind the Bar Insights, 2019)
"Back to the Bar tradition is a time when everyone across the company, regardless of day job, becomes an ambassador and a researcher by going back to where our business is made – the local bars and restaurants," says Mahesh Madhavan, CEO of family-owned Bacardi Limited. "We are in the relationship business and I never miss an opportunity to talk to a bartender or our consumers to learn what they're seeing and what they think will be the next big thing."
As the company celebrates its 158th anniversary this week, Back to the Bar also commemorates the company's legacy of a founder's mentality and entrepreneurial spirit. For seven generations, the family-owned business has instilled a belief that brands are built in bars, not boardrooms. Everyone at Bacardi participates in this "roll-up your sleeves" approach to data collection and serves as influencers by talking to friends, family, and consumers about the brands.
"In an era where people are flooded with data, there is no substitute for putting feet on the street and seeing first-hand what's happening at the bar," says Jacob Briars, Global Advocacy Director at Bacardi. "When something excites the bartenders, we know that it is a matter of time before we start to see a shift in the mindset and behaviour of our guests."
As part of this year's Back to the Bar, Bacardi employees will be enjoying cocktails and conversations at bars across the UK, including Milroy's, Black Rock, Coupette and Nine Lives in London and Revolucion de Cuba, The Social, The Metropolitan and The Spiritualist in Glasgow.
Classic cocktails in line with the latest trends will be crafted by leading bartenders using BACARDÍ Gran Reserva Diez, MARTINI Fiero and ST-GERMAIN elderflower liqueur.