85% of consumers decide what type of alcoholic beverage they're going to drink after they get to the bar or restaurant, according to Next Level Marketing's annual consumer survey. Once there, they tend to base their decision on:
1) drink menu
2) special promotion
3) house specialty drink
4) bartender/server suggestion
WINE PRICE EXPECTATIONS ON THE RISE. Looking at wine specifically, taste (58%) and price (53%) are the top two decision factors, followed by whether it's red or white (47%), brand name (33%) and whether its offered by the glass or by the bottle (23%). Consumers are much less concerned about whether the wine is organic, what the calorie count is and whether the brand is local or national.
Price expectations have also increased. Consumers think a standard glass of wine is $7.08 and a premium glass is $7.89. And nearly three-fourths of consumers are willing to pay an extra dollar or two to trade up with server suggestion.
PINEAPPLE IS NO.1 COCKTAIL FLAVOR. Taste (48%) and price (44%) also top the ordering decision tree for cocktails, but consumers placed more importance on taste and less on price compared to last year, said Mike Ginley, Next Level Marketing founder and ceo, during the recent VIBE conference. After that, consumers are concerned with the spirit type in the cocktail (41%), cocktail type (31%) and flavor profile (28%).
As with wine, more consumers said they seek out the highest quality cocktails regardless of price. To those surveyed, a standard cocktail is about $7.63 and a premium cocktail is $8.57. In this case, 65% are willing to trade up to a more expensive cocktail based on server suggestion.
Vodka (45%), rum (36%) and tequila (36%) are the top spirit types for cocktails. Though bourbon (23%) and gin (14%) are on the rise.
The most sought after flavor profiles for cocktails are fruity (28%) and sweet (21%). Pineapple snagged the top spot as the top cocktail flavor, edging out strawberry. Tropical, mango and lime flavored cocktails are also ordered frequently.
OPPORTUNITIES. The majority of consumers surveyed called for more pairing suggestions for beer, wine and spirits (64%). Consumers are also looking to try more things, but without the commitment of a full-sized drink. Enter flights. 76% said they're interested in seeing more flight offerings across all three categories.
Consumers also showed an increased interest in wine cocktails (57%) and wine on tap (55%) as well as seasonal cocktails (72%). Interestingly, there was a slight drop in interest levels in barrel aged cocktails and craft spirits, compared to last year.
WHERE MARIJUANA FITS IN. Mike bases his survey questions on suggestions made by operators and suppliers. Marijuana use was a new topic added to this year's survey. 25% of those surveyed said they partake in marijuana, which skews male and younger. Of those that responded yes, nearly 60% said they use it before going out to eat/ drink and 77% said they're interested in ordering cannabis infused drinks.