A recently released report from the US has shared insights into the most popular cocktails and categories on bar menus at leading craft cocktail bars across 25 cities.

The IWSR US On-Premise Insights: Cocktail Trends report found that the Bourbon- or rye-based Old Fashioned and vodka-based Moscow Mule account for a combined 30 percent of cocktail menu mentions, with the Old Fashioned leading as the most mentioned cocktail heading into 2017.

By category, whisk(e)y cocktails are most prevalent across craft bar menus with a 23 percent share, followed by rum (16 percent) and gin (15 percent).

The cities with the most Old Fashioned menu mentions are Los Angeles, Baltimore and Portland. Trending variations of the cocktail includes barrel-aged, sherried and vinegar, as well as flavour profiles such as walnut, chocolate, fig, ginger, cherry and more. Data shows that consumer interest in the Old Fashioned spikes around the holidays, and increases in consumer interest correlate with the growth of on-premise US whiskey consumption. In addition, 45 percent of on-premise operators surveyed believe the Old Fashioned is trending positively among their customers.

The report also includes an analysis of more than 6,000 brands listed on craft bar menus and ranks 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.

The report looks at on-premise consumption across categories and includes an analysis of the top 20 most searched cocktails online. Starting from a national view of consumer search preferences online, the IWSR looked at 20 key cocktails that have collectively ranked the highest over the past year and analysed category sales to see what's trending. Whisk(e)y-, gin- and rum-based cocktails like the Sazerac, Manhattan, Daiquiri, Dark n' Stormy and Negroni are all trending up.

Distilled spirits is the only segment of the beverage alcohol industry projected to increase its on-premise share levels over the next five years. While beer and wine are expected to decrease their on-premise share levels by approximately minus-one percent, spirits are projected to increase by 0.6 percent, ending 2021 with a 23.5 percent share in the on-premise.

Cocktail Trends was released in December 2016 and is the first in a planned series of on-premise insight reports focused on the US market. The IWSR conducts face-to-face interviews with more than 1,500 companies in 118 countries each year, with further input from 350 companies.


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