Vodka Drinks Rule On-Premise, Rosé Remains Strong and Beer Shows Improvement

Minneapolis (January 26, 2021) – On-premise consumption of beverage alcohol overall was largely flat in 2019, down by less than 1%, according to the Beverage Information Group’s 2020 Cheers On-Premise Handbook. But the decrease was a slight improvement over 2018 and on the four years prior.

Distilled spirits consumption rose 1.9% in 2019, while wine was up 1.1%. The beer category showed the biggest improvement, with on-premise consumption down 0.3% in 2019 vs. falling 1.3% for 2018.

Beer may continue to pick up in the next year: A Lightspeed/Mintel survey conducted in July 2020 finds that among those consumers who ordered alcohol from a restaurant or bar in the past three months, the plurality (27%) said they ordered beer.

Wine (including Champagne/sparkling wine) was the second most-popular category with 22%, followed by cocktails or mixed drinks (19%); spirits straight or on the rocks (14%); ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages including hard seltzers, wine coolers, etc. (11%); cocktail kits (8%); and cider (8%).

While Margaritas to-go and Margarita kits were popular for homebound consumers during the pandemic, the Margarita was not the top cocktail. Vodka drinks—vodka mixed with anything, typically club soda, tonic or fruit juice—took the top spot in terms of most-popular cocktails on-premise among respondents to the Cheers/Beverage Information Group 2020 On-premise Survey.

What vodka brands are guests choosing? Titos’ domination continues, as the Texas vodka remains the leading call brand overall. Bacardi, Patron, Tanqueray and Jack Daniel’s round out the top-five call brands on-premise.

Cabernet sauvignon and rosé tied for first place for the fastest-growing varietal or style of wine in 2020. Pinot noir and chardonnay were second and third, respectively, while sauvignon blanc and red blends tied for fourth and Champagne/sparkling wine took fifth place for fastest-growing wines in 2020.

The past year was dominated by the pandemic, which devastated most full-service restaurants. But relaxed rules on selling alcohol for takeout and delivery has helped many survive. Operators also showed creativity in reconfiguring layouts for social distancing and carving out space to offer outdoor dining.

About the 2020 Cheers On-Premise Barometer Handbook

The Beverage Information Group’s 2020 Cheers On-Premise Barometer Handbook is a comprehensive source of information on U.S. on-premise trends. It includes consumption and projection information by category and by market, tracks leading brands and consumer preferences and demographics. The publications can be purchased at www.bevinfostore.com or by calling Sherai Falcon at 763-383-4423.