Cocktail sales surge in Australia

Australian Cocktail Month has less than one week to go – make sure not to miss your chance to experience it – but the boom in cocktail sales continues to gain significant traction in the on-premise as Aussies treat themselves on the return to their favourite bars and restaurants.

The new findings come from CGA’s OPUS, a large-scale consumer study that has fully launched for the first time in Australia this month.

OPUS is specifically focused on the behaviours, habits and preferences for a large, nationally representative sample of Australian on-premise visitors. OPUS is already used to understand the on premise in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, and now Australia, with New Zealand following next month.

At a top line, the most recent study clarifies that beer leads the way in terms of overall popularity, with almost half of Australian consumers drinking it in the channel (47%). This is followed by wine (41%), spirits (36%) and cocktails (30%).

However, cocktails have been gaining traction and are one of the categories most likely to be drunk more than last year by Australian consumers. In fact, a huge 28% of Australians say they are drinking more cocktails in bars and restaurants than last year. The experts behind the bar are also confident about the future success of the category, with 59% of bartenders stating that they believe that cocktails are in the best position to thrive in 2022 – the number one choice among all beverage categories.

But why are cocktails so in tune with the returning on-premise visitor? The latest OPUS data shows that the main driver behind ordering a cocktail is that consumers are “looking for a treat” (45% of category drinkers). This aligns broadly with the premiumisation trend identified in the on-premise channel around the world and there is no doubt that well-conceived and executed cocktails can elevate the standard spirits serve, allowing consumers to enjoy more memorable experiences and for operators to increase visit spend.

The top cocktail choices

Looking at Australia’s favourite cocktails, Mojitos and Margaritas lead the way with 24% of Australian cocktail drinkers enjoying these serves. The popularity of the Pina Colada (22%) and the Espresso Martini (21%) demonstrate the diverse range of consumer palates being served by the category.

Cocktail consumers enter the category in many ways, with the top two decision points being influenced through detailed menu descriptions (25%) and bartender recommendations (24%).

Scott Elliott, CGA managing director – Americas and Asia Pacific, said: “Here in Australian Cocktail Month, it is great to objectively see how important cocktails are to the on-premise. Clearly, a ‘one size fits all’ approach to on-premise strategy is outdated and insight-led channel and occasion-based tactics are required now more than ever.

Operators today have enough challenges to deal with and absolutely must get the support they need from sophisticated drinks suppliers. Not just in terms of relevant trends and evidence-based recommendations but also in practical help around menu creation, operational and advocacy training, support in effective pre-batching techniques and many more elements that are needed to create a compelling and operationally manageable cocktail program.

For more details email Scott Elliott at

Don’t miss your chance to experience Australian Cocktail Month

Australian Cocktail Month launched on May 1 and comes to a close on May 31.

The event is showcasing cocktails, spirits, bartenders and 145 bars across 12 cities. Those holding Australian Cocktail Month tickets will enjoy delicious cocktails at handpicked partner venues in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Geelong, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Sydney and Wollongong. The $20 (plus booking fee) ticket allows guests access to a special menu of cocktails created exclusively for the month.

The menu is available at participating venues, with cocktails priced at $14, and non-alcoholic options at $10. The Australian Cocktail Month ticket can be used at any participating venue throughout May.

Australian Cocktail Month tickets are still on sale – head to to grab yours and to see the full list of participating bars.

Stunning launch for Australian Cocktail Month

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