COVID-Christmas set to drive premium spirit sales

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Smoky apple cider margarita fall cocktail with cinnamon, rosemary and star anise
Cocktails are expected to knock traditional tipples such as as mulled wine, beer, and wine off the top spot this year. Photo: Getty

Premium spirit sales are set to rise over the festive period as the coronavirus pandemic impacts Brits’ Christmas choices, according to new research by Bacardí.

Brits’ appetite for premium spirits is continuing to grow with 47% of consumers willing to pay more and 41% intending to use “quality” spirits this season, the survey found.

Bacardí forecasts a continued increase in quality spirit sales with 50% of Brits saying they will be drinking more this Christmas.

The global beverage industry is set for 4% growth in 2020, down from a predicted 5-6%, according to Bacardí, as the closure of bars and pubs due to COVID-19 lockdowns around the world has hit the industry.

In the US, online sales of alcohol increased by 234% during lockdown.

READ MORE: Top tips: How to get your finances in shape for Christmas

Half of Brits will be drinking more cocktails this year with fancy mixed drinks expected to knock traditional tipples such as as mulled wine (36%), beer (45%), and wine (42%) off the top spot. Almost one in five (18%) said cocktails are a must for their festive celebrations this year.

The UK’s favourite spirit, gin, is showing no signs of slowing in popularity either, with the top Christmas gin cocktails tipped to be the classic gin and tonic and the gin fizz.

Some 60% of people are planning to celebrate with loved-ones digitally this year, rather than attending traditional in-person gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Over a third (36%) will hold a virtual Christmas quiz, and 13% plan to take part in an online cocktail party. A third (32%) of Brits will join family video calls for Christmas morning “unboxing” of Christmas presents.

READ MORE: Brits to spend £346 on Christmas gifts in 2020

Brenda Fiala, global vice president of strategy, insight and analytics for Bacardi Ltd said: Now more than ever, people are craving connections. Celebrations may be different this year, but people still want to celebrate in style and they are approaching this festive season with a new mindset.

“That means they’re pushing the boat out, shaking up traditions to create their perfect Christmas Day, and becoming increasingly discerning in their drinks choices, to make even virtual toasts as special and memorable as ever.”

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