‘Sober-curious’ - Bar & Kitchen


As the new year begins, here’s food for thought to help create a successful 2022.

In 2021, we saw changing attitudes to sobriety and a wider acceptance of low- and no-alcohol (NoLo) drinks give way to evermore ‘sober-curious’ consumers. According to Nielsen data, the no- and low-ABV sector has grown by 506% since 2015 and annual growth for this category is expected to hit 7.1% by 2025.

Steve Warnham, Manager, National & Key Accounts at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners GB Ltd, says: “In the last three years, mocktails and alcohol-free mixed drinks have grown 35%. This is partly due to people’s changing lifestyles but also because of the rising number of people classing themselves as teetotal. According to Mintel, in 2020, 15% of 18 to 24-year-olds classed themselves as teetotal and 50% of people now say they choose a drink based on the calorie content.”

This year, consumers will expect more than an elderflower cordial when visiting outlets. In this new phase it’s all about matching delicious drinks with a variety of sober social occasions. Stock up on non-alcoholic drinks such as sparkling wine, wine, lager and spirits.

In 2022, it’s time to up your soft drinks game too, with 61% of Britons saying they would like to see an even greater range targeted at adults and better aligned with health-conscious living.

“United Kingdom is the world’s  4th largest whiskey market in value”
- Brown-Forman

Spirits continue to rise in popularity

James Stocker, Marketing Director at Halewood Artisanal Spirits, sees two trends on the horizon that bar owners should get behind.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen exponential growth in flavoured gins, we’re now starting to see crossover into other spirits categories. Last year was big for flavoured rums – we launched a raft of new rum flavours under our Dead Man’s Fingers brand, including Passionfruit, which all performed well.

“Products with a strong provenance is a great way to drive sales. Consumers are increasingly drawn to products with local connections and stories. We think this will grow in 2022, so we have invested in distilleries all over the UK to provide artisanal spirits with regional links, including our Aber Falls Whisky (the first whisky to be produced in North Wales for over a century) and our Bankhall Distillery in Blackpool.

Sweeter spirits

Brown-Forman’s Customer Marketing Manager – On Trade, Danny Whelan, says: “Flavour-seeking consumers are discovering new tastes, both sweeter and bigger and this will continue to grow in 2022. We are seeing lots of interest in Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple, for example.” He also acknowledges a focus on the more expensive drinks: “Consumers are demanding more Premium experiences and products such as our Woodford Reserve and Tequila Herradura. Great for your customers and great for your margins.”


When it’s big in the US, you can be sure it will soon be big over here too. Discover the drinks blazing a trail across the States and what your customers will be asking for in 2022…


According to The International Wines and Spirits Record, US consumption of tequila rose by more than 30% between 2015 and 2020, with premium handcrafted tequilas doing well, particularly for cocktails. In the UK, people bought tequila from supermarkets during lockdown and now will be expecting their local bars and restaurants to sell it too. For example, Waitrose saw a 175% increase in demand according to The Spirits Business.


The US has never been a huge market for cognac but that all changed in 2020, when high-end premium sales of brandy and cognac soared by 809%. In the UK, demand is mostly seen in nightclubs and we expect this to trickle down to bars and restaurants later in 2022.

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