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Margarita remains America’s favourite cocktail

The Margarita is the most popular cocktail in the US for the second year running, with 51% of Americans ranking the drink as their top tipple, according to the latest Nielsen CGA survey.

The Margarita is the most popular cocktail in the US for the second year running

The 2017 edition of Nielsen CGA’s On Premise User Survey found that 56% of females and 44% of males rated the drink as their favourite.

The Manhattan was second-favourite for male drinkers, with 24% putting the tipple at number one, compared with 16% of women. In total 41% of women called the Daiquiri their favourite drink, compared with 23% of men listing it as their go-to cocktail.

According to 44% of cocktail drinkers, the base spirit is “an important factor” when choosing a cocktail. Tequila remains the favourite, with 38% opting for Tequila-based drinks, while flavoured vodka has raisen to second place with 34% of the vote, and non-flavoured vodka joins light rum as the nation’s third favorite cocktail liquor base.

Whisky has increased in popularity over the last year, at 29%, though it represents the biggest gender-differential of any spirits category: 43% of men vs 21% of women.

Flavours, too, remain divided by gender. According to the report, 52% of women would choose berry flavours compared to 30% of men, and 59% of women would choose fruity and sweet flavour profile, compared to 38% of men.

Equally, 23% of men would choose beer cocktails compared with 9% of women, and 14% of men would opt for smokey flavour profiles compared to 5% of women.

“We know that one-fourth of on premise visitors don’t know what category they’re going to drink before entering an outlet,” said Scott Elliott, SVP, Nielsen CGA.

“With on-premise traffic flat or declining, every opportunity counts to maximize revenue and enhance the experience of that individual or group. Cocktails are great for both of these purposes.

“Our large-scale research suggests it would be wise for retailers to specifically name drink brands as cocktail components, to be explicit with liquor bases and especially the flavour profile and to play the daypart and occasion card as much as possible with specific offers.”

The report found that 28% of Americans are now drinking cocktails out-of-home, compared with 23% last year. Among millennials, the number increases to 40%, compared with 17% of those aged over 55.

According to the survey, 72% of drinkers say that the most important factor when choosing a cocktail is the taste, with 47% listing the price as more important.

The average cocktail drinker spends US$25.61 on cocktails per occasion – increasing to US$31.74 for millennials – and is willing to pay US$9.69 for a standard cocktail, with the expectation to pay 15% more for a cocktail made with premium spirits.

Elliot added: “The obvious challenge for retailers is in giving any one category enough attention to really achieve its potential. Given retailers have to focus on so many different elements of the business, it is essential that they work with the experts – the brand owners and the good distributors committed to adding value – to refine the finer elements of their drinks offer.”

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