CHICAGO (PRNewswire) — Adult beverage sales at the bar are growing in dollars and volume despite the rocky economic environment, according to Technomic's 2012 BarTAB (Trends in Adult Beverage) report. Sales of spirits, wine and beer in restaurants, bars and other licensed on-premise locations increased 4.9 percent to reach $93.7 billion in 2011 and projections call for continued growth in 2012.
Adult beverage on-premise volume declined slightly in 2011 (-1.1 percent) but is expected to grow in 2012. The on-premise channel accounts for one-quarter of total adult beverage volume and slightly less than half of total dollars.
"The on-premise dollar growth is driven by a combination of price increases and consumers once again calling for premium and above-premium brands at the bar," said Donna Hood Crecca, Senior Director at Technomic. "Cost remains a factor for some, but as they come back to restaurants and bars post-recession, consumers are satisfying their pent-up demand for favorite drinks and exploring new adult beverages. They're really digging into the more unique aspects of many categories. This is good news for operators and for adult beverage brand marketers, as bars and restaurants are where new brands are built and existing brands can continue to engage consumers."
The culmination of its Trends in Adult Beverage report series, Technomic's release of the BarTAB report presents an in-depth look at the on-premise channel for adult beverages, which includes full-service and fast-casual restaurants, bars, taverns, pubs, hotels, and nightclubs as well as other licensed venues. Trends in on-premise spirits, wine and beer are analyzed, including dollar and volume information, category metrics and leading brands, consumer behaviors and preferences and bartender insights. Among the key findings:
- Beer is the largest adult beverage category on-premise, generating more than four-fifths of volume and nearly half of dollars. Major domestic brands, while challenged, maintain the lion's share of volume and sales, but imported and craft beer are growing.
- Drinking establishments, which include bars, taverns/pubs, lounges, nightclubs, comedy clubs and music/cabaret venues, account for the largest portion of on-premise adult beverage sales, followed by casual-dining restaurants.
- Sparked by cost-conscious consumers and winemaker innovation, on-premise domestic wine growth outpaced that of imports to account for three-quarters of total wine volume in restaurants and bars.
- Spirits generate one-third of total on-premise dollars, and the vibrant cocktail scene continues to evolve, evidenced by the notable growth of both the largest category, vodka, and the smallest category, Irish whiskey.
- Consumers value drink programs at restaurants; one-third report that the adult beverage offering influences their decision to visit a particular concept.
- More than three-quarters of consumers order food with their adult beverage.
"Looking at 2012 and beyond, we see continued growth, although the evolving economic situation will ultimately influence 2013 performance across the on-premise segments and the beverage categories," noted David Henkes, Vice President and adult beverage practice leader at Technomic. "The dynamics impacting the on-premise market are diverse, ranging from consumer confidence in the economy to the latest flavor craze. Both operators and suppliers need to strategize against the trends to succeed."
BarTAB (Trends in Adult Beverage) combines Technomic's extensive knowledge about the restaurant, bar and hotel market honed over nearly 40 years with its recently developed adult beverage database, spearheaded by Eric Schmidt, Director of Research, who brings more than a decade of tracking adult beverages to the project. The result is a unique report that documents the on-premise adult beverage business trends and opportunities. To request a copy of the Executive Summary, contact Donna Hood Crecca.