And as the category continues to expand, there is now more choice for outlets than ever before.
Thomas McQuade of Glasgow restaurant The Italian Bistro said sales of draught and bottled carbonated soft drinks, fruit juice and water have all increased in the west end outlet – and adults are playing a key role in that growth.
Health is an important consideration when people choose which soft drink to buy.
“With more and more adults favouring soft drinks over alcoholic drinks, particularly at lunch-time and weekday evenings, it is very important to stock a range of soft drinks that appeal to both adults and younger diners,” he said.
It’s an approach shared by Greig McKenzie, general manager of The River House Restaurant in Stirling, who said stocking soft drinks brands that appeal to adults is key as lunch-time customers are increasingly opting for alcohol-free drinks.
“We’re selling more soft drinks now than in the past, more so because our lunch trade has increased in comparison to dinner trade,” he said.
“We get a lot of people who are driving and I think people are just a little more conscious of not having a glass of wine at lunch and having a soft drink instead.”
At the Udny Arms Hotel in Aberdeenshire, sales of soft drinks are just as strong at weekends.
Head chef Ross Cochrane said soft drinks can account for up to 85% of drinks sales at the Udny Arms on Sundays, compared to 40% during the week. In order to capitalise on this demand, Cochrane said the hotel stocks a broad range of soft drinks to appeal to all age groups.
“There are so many soft drinks out there that you can’t just stick with the normal bog standard drinks,” he said.
“It always amazes me the new things we get asked for and we try and accommodate as best as we can. It can sometimes be difficult to keep up with the latest trend of drinks when new ones are coming out all the time.”
Health is also becoming a factor in which soft drinks people are buying, particularly when it comes to choosing drinks for their children.
“Parents are encouraging kids to stay away from fizzy drinks and going more for cordials or fresh drinks,” said McKenzie at the River House.
He said the restaurant stocks drinks that are ‘neutral’, rather than specifically aimed at adults or children.
Healthier options also feature on the menu at West Brewery, Bar and Restaurant in Glasgow.
Its range includes German soft drink Apfelisaftshortle, which is made on the premises and combines apple juice and sparkling water.
A growing number of adults are choosing soft drinks over alcoholic ones.
“Apfelisaftshortle is the drink of choice for most children in Germany,” said West owner Petra Wetzel.
“It looks like beer so we serve it in a beer glass if they want.
“It has a bit of fizz in it, so the children really love the fact they’re drinking it out of a beer glass. And it’s a brilliant soft drink without much sugar in it. That’s probably one of the things we’re most proud of.”
Image – Soft drinks sales are particularly strong at weekday lunchtimes and weekends, operators say.