What’s hot this summer?

Twists on tried and tested favourites set to go down a storm

Utilising premium spirits and attractive seasonal garnishes can boost drinks sales

IT’s fair to say much of the on-trade hasn’t had any trouble attracting customers as of late, with the sun outshining even the most creative marketing campaigns, bringing customers out to pubs and bars across the country.

And while the good spell of sunshine was bound to end sometime, there’s still plenty of ways that operators can continue to pull in profits this season.

That was the message from drinks firms, who told SLTN there’s a raft of trends which operators would do well to consider.

Jen Draper, head of marketing at soft drinks firm Franklin & Sons, said cocktails “have become one of the most important trends” in recent years and continue to grow in popularity in the on-trade.

“Consumers are now opting for more artisanal, premium serves,” said Draper.

“This move has resulted in premiumisation increasing in popularity, while putting an emphasis on the theatre and style of serve; no longer are standard cocktails enough for discerning customers.

“The cocktail trends we see coming through this year are tried and tested favourites – with a new twist.”

Draper reckons offering twists on the classic serves “can really make a venue stand out”.

Offering sharing cocktails, such as a fruit punch, is another way in which operators can capitalise on demand this summer, according to Michael Sim, UK brand activation manager for Edinburgh Gin.

I think we’ll see more of an appetite from consumers looking to learn more about sustainability.

“It’s a social season – so operators that serve longer, colder cocktails, or offer punch-style drinks that can be shared between friends will be reflecting this consumer demand,” he said.

Operators can further customise their cocktails, Sim said, through “exciting, interactive garnishes – syringes filled with syrup, fresh fruit skewers, even flaming spirits in passion fruit husks”.

EmmaLi Stenhouse, brand ambassador for Sailor Jerry, said rum “looks to be increasingly popular this summer”, advising that more consumers are on the lookout for rum cocktails this season.

Cocktails in general have been identified as “one of the strongest profit drivers” for licensees this year, according to Funkin MD Andrew King, who said cocktail drinkers spend up to 27% more on food and drink.

Listing the Mojito, Pornstar Martini, Espresso Martini and Daiquiri among the ‘must haves’ on a summer cocktail list, King said there are other trends to take note of in the weeks ahead.

“Aperitif-style drinks will be taking the lead again this summer with consumers seeking low ABV yet complex flavour serves such as the Vasilov Spritz, a delicious combination of Funkin Pro apricot purée, Cognac and peach liqueur with a Champagne top,” he said.

“Outlets should focus on fresh, fruit flavours when building summer cocktail menus.”