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Here Comes The Sun

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It’s going to be a long, hot (hopefully), and busy summer. As the days get warmer there’s a super opportunity to experiment with exciting new products and flavour combinations to reinvigorate your drinks menus.  

But where to start? We’re already seeing strong growth from trends predicted by PROOF Insight at the start of 2022, such as the rising popularity of low and no alcohol, and the introduction of more innovative flavour combinations across drinks categories.  

With summer upon us, we’ve got some of the latest trends from PROOF Insight to help you plan the best sips for your customers and keep those profit margins high!  

2022: The Year of Exploration 

The last few years of lockdowns have meant that people were pushed to experiment with recreating their favourite drinks at home. With the trade now firmly re-opened, we’re seeing customers being a little more adventurous than usual while in venue. 

From experimental serves that incorporate fun, innovative flavours, to exploring a wider range of brands and regions to satisfy their wanderlust, 2022 is looking like it’s the year of experimentation for UK customers.   

Tropical and sour fruits  

As expected with summer serves, fruit is a guarantee. But this year, we will see brands and venues push the boundaries as to which fruits are included. The summer is perfect for the exploration of fruity flavours, and we expect to see this across all categories.  

In the age of exploration, PROOF research has found that trendsetting bars are innovating with fruits that give sour notes, such as yuzu and kumquat, as well as gooseberries and rhubarb.   

Sour beers have gained momentum and popularity, with 75% of trendsetting bars now listing a sour beer. Meanwhile, despite a challenging market for cider, it looks like fruit flavours are leading the way in innovating for the category, with watermelon, lime, passionfruit and other tropical fruits making up the majority of fruit flavours.  

Tequila’s time in the ‘lime’-light 

In the age of experimentation, Tequila has become the latest spirit to see a resurgence in popularity. As celebrities, such as George Clooney and Kendall Jenner, invest in premium Tequila’s, the quality and perception has improved, helping to raise its profile. We’re seeing more customers enjoy a premium Tequila shot or Tequila based cocktail in the on-trade. The volume of super premium Tequila increased by 53% in the 6 months leading up to January 2022. 

In line with the Spritz trend, expect to see Tequila Spritz serves grow in popularity over summer. 

Summer of Spritz  

For a summer serve, you can’t really go wrong with the Spritz. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser, with 46% of customers saying they would like to see a separate Spritz section on a menu. Spritzes have the celebratory air of sparkling wine, let customer explore exciting flavours and can be a lower alcohol alternative to a traditional cocktail. Combined this makes the spritz one of the most categories out there, catering to a wide customer base.  

As venues and distillers push the boundaries with flavours and serves, the team at PROOF predict that the Spritz will be the serve of Summer 2022. Think wine-based spritzes with rosé wine, low-alcohol spritzes, and spirit spritzes with interesting flavours and garnishes to provide the ultimate refreshing summer cocktail.  

Pink Drinks  

Provence Rosé was the drink of summer 2021, and Rosé remained popular over the winter months, with trendsetting bars adding structured and age worthy Rosés suitable for year-round drinking to their menus. The popularity of pink looks set to continue through the summer, with Rosé continuing to dominate - 80% of wine drinkers say they drink Rosé! 

Combining pink and fizz was bound to be a success, and pink fizz continues to grow in both the off-trade and on-trade. PROOF research has found that pink champagne is up 41% in the off trade. Meanwhile, pink prosecco has been a resounding success since its launch and is already worth over £60m in the off trade. 

Looking at another pink summer drink, Rosé Cider is one of the most popular styles of cider out there and lends itself to be a perfect summer drink due to its versatility to be served on its own, or in cocktails and spritzes. 

The freshness of a Rosé wine, the fizz of a Pink Champagne or the fruitiness of a Rosé Cider is satisfying customers' desire to celebrate as well as explore.  

Wellness-minded consumer  

The ‘Age of Wellness’ trend is a key driver for consumer behaviours this year. As busy lifestyles ramp up pace throughout 2022, so has the emergence of drinks that deliver mind and mood benefits to a wellness-orientated consumer. 

Trend setting bars are offering innovative servings with adaptogens and nootropics that allow customers to explore the benefits to physical and mental health. Low and no alcohol also continues to see strong growth and is now worth around £72m in the UK on-trade. Expect to see more customers embracing the trend over the summer months as they look to extend their experiences with lasting memories. 

If 2022 is the year of exploration, then we in the on-trade have the greatest opportunity to make this the summer of adventure, tapping into customers desires for experimentation and newness.  



About the author

Mary McCarron

Mary looks after the majority of Matthew Clark's digital marketing comms. After a couple of years working in tech, she found her way back to the hospitality industry and can now be found talking all things cocktails, spirits, beer, softs and more across our website, social media, and other digital channels.

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