Exotic drinks predicted to prove popular with customers this summer

Aluna Peach Woo-Woo

By Dave Hunter

Foreign flavours – whether it’s world beer brands, wines or exotic spirits – are likely to prove pretty popular this summer as customers seek out far-flung flavours to welcome the warmer weather.

That was certainly the view of drinks companies when SLTN contacted them for their top tipple recommendations for the summer season, with tequila cocktails, Italian wines and beers from the Mediterranean all top tips for summer drinks lists. 

In wine, Jon Harris, sales director for Scotland at Hallgarten Wines, said he expects premium rosé wines to ‘outperform the market averages’ this summer. 

“Historically, this growth has been driven by Provence but in recent years we have also seen stylish, premium Italian rosé increase in popularity across the licensed trade,” he said. “In Scotland, I have witnessed increased demand for two wines that tick this box: San Greg, from Feudi di San Gregorio, and Costa di Rose, from Umberto Cesari, which exemplify Italian elegance and the Mediterranean sun.” 

San Greg, from Feudi di San Gregorio

Harris added that, on a ‘personal level’, he would like to see white wines such as Vinho Verde from Portugal or the Txakoli wines of Spain ‘get the recognition they deserve throughout the summer months’. 

Steven Sturgeon, head of strategy and marketing at Lyme Bay Drinks, also reckoned the ‘easy drinking’ white and rosé wines will be popular choices in the coming months. 

“Easy drinking white and rosé wines will undoubtedly fare well whether drink or food led occasions,” he said. 

“These sit nicely with changing drinking occasions and can be enjoyed at home or out of home, creating a summery vibe (even if the sun is behind clouds!).”

On the spirits and cocktail side, commentators pointed to lighter, aperitivo and spritz-style drinks as well as tried and tested summer favourites such as the Margarita and Daiquiri as likely winners. 

“Refreshing long aperitivo-style drinks will be top serves right through to the end of Summer,” said Gareth ‘G’ Franklin, Luxardo global brand ambassador.

“Keep flavours fresh and light.”

Consumers want the chance to experiment. So let’s give them that.

Joel DeFries, marketing manager of Mangrove Global, reckoned limoncello spritzes could prove particularly popular as an Italian import.

“It’s what all the Italians are drinking and is set to be a drink of choice in the UK too,” he said. 

Limoncello spritz – ‘it’s what all the Italians are drinking’

Outside of Italian-inspired spritzes, DeFries reckoned customers will be keen to experiment over the summer season. 

“Consumers want the chance to experiment,” he said. “So, let’s give them that. Two in five people going out say they’ll almost always opt for the signature cocktail on offer, and that proportion is increasing.”

And Jody Buchan of Speciality Brands said he has been noticing flavours from even further afield proving popular in mixed drinks, with bars making ‘some interesting use of Asian flavours’, as well as trending towards more ‘minimalist serves’ which balance ‘the show of the cocktail bartender with deftly prepared simple drinks, that are ready in a matter of seconds’. 

Buchan also reckoned occasions such as World Daiquiri Day on 19th July and National Tequila Day on 24th July could help increase demand for Daiquiris and Margaritas, respectively. 

“Takamaka Daiqiuri Shakes (aka Takamaka Daka Shaka) and Tapatio margs anyone? Quick, simple, delicious and always crowd pleasers,” he said.  

Beer and cider are, of course, also expected to be huge sellers over the summer months, and Serena Smith, head of category for the on-trade at Heineken UK, said despite cost of living concerns, beer and cider have ‘always been resilient’. 

“The key will be to understand what the consumer needs, and then meeting this with the right range in the right place at the right price,” said Smith. 

“Classic and premium beer brands remain critical as consumers continue to look for familiar favourites on the bar, while world and craft beers continue to drive category growth as the premiumisation trend continues.”

Birra Moretti’s new variant Sale di Mare tapas into consumer enthusiasm for all things Mediterranean

In fact, Smith said that world lager has been ‘the standout performer’ of the past year, with both volume and value sales increasing during 2023. 

“We expect this trend to continue and world lager to be one of the biggest selling categories this summer, particularly Mediterranean lager,” she said.  

“Mediterranean lager brands have been real drivers of world lager growth over the past 18 months as drinkers look to recapture holiday experiences at home.”

And a packed summer of sport is likely to help venues grow their beer and cider sales, said Smith, with events including the Euros and the Olympics helping to bring different groups of sports fans into bars and pubs. 

“Sport is brilliant at bringing customers into pubs, with 83% of consumers watching live sport in pubs at least once a month,” said Smith. 

“They also tend to do it in bigger groups, 75% of sport consumers socialise with larger groups of friends than average consumers. Therefore, showing the sport and effectively advertising it is a great way for licensees to bring in new customers.”