Are people drinking alcohol at restaurants more or less often than last year? And what are they choosing to drink? These questions and more are tackled in Technomic’s Co-Pilot, a quarterly study powered by the Adult Beverage Planning Program. Adult beverages are up 9% on menus in the last year, increasing more significantly than any other mealpart, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, powered by Ignite. Here are four recent findings around how booze consumption is changing and restaurant menus are responding.
1. Beer slips, cocktails rise
Roughly half (47%) of all on-premise occasions and consumed drinks in the most recent quarter involved beer, higher than any other adult beverage type. However, beer consumption for the quarter is down slightly year over year, from 51%. On the up and up is cocktail and mixed drink consumption, which increased by 4 percentage points from last year. On menus, though, both categories are seeing more mentions: Beer incidence is up 8.1%, while specialty drink mentions increased 5.5%.
3. Spirits soar
On menus, one category impacting the upward thrust in adult beverage mentions is spirits. Spirit menu incidence is up 17.2% in the last year, with the greatest growth categories being whiskey/bourbon (+31.7%), Scotch whisky (+20.6%) and liqueur/cordial (+20.2%).
4. Wine growth’s fine
Increased menu mentions of red wine (+7.2%), white wine (+8.6%) and champagne/sparkling wine (+7.2%) align with adult beverage growth overall, but it’s the “other wines” category—which includes blush wines and rose—that’s seeing the greatest push, up 9.9% compared to the same quarter last year.