As bars and restaurants across the country continue to reopen, Breakthru Beverage Group sees particularly strong demand for fine wine and premium cocktails across its footprint.
Driven by Millennials and Gen Xers who are more comfortable dining out post-vaccine, on premise spending has surged. On premise spending data in markets like South Carolina, Arizona, Florida and Virginia show a collective +6% increase in average sales compared to 2019.
“We’re seeing better than expected volume trends in those markets that are further along in the reopening process as consumers are relishing the chance to be back out with friends and family,” says E. Lloyd Sobel, Breakthru Beverage Group Chief Commercial Officer. “Consumers are not just going out more, they are spending more by opting for a premium bottle of wine or quality cocktail. Through our extensive portfolio that embraces a network-wide focus with market specialization, we pivoted quickly to help our customers meet this demand by revamping cocktail menus and enhancing beverage experiences.”
Consumer data has shown strong trends in consumer spending which is up 4% in March 2021, with consumer confidence also nearing pre-pandemic levels. Breakthru data shows nearly +$10 average price per case increase in April 2021, with four markets more than doubling that increase (AZ, DC, DE, WI) compared to 2019.
“Even before the pandemic struck, we saw a sustained trend of premiumization in the fine wine category and a more educated consumer seeking out greater variety and a unique wine experience.,” says Daren Cliff, Breakthru Beverage Group Senior Director, Aspect. Our Aspect fine wine team of highly-trained wine specialists has hit the ground running post-COVID offering a concierge-style service and a more specialized approach to fine wine that helps our customers build their wine programs to satisfy consumer demands.”
Overall, premiumization continues to accelerate across categories with particularly strong growth in fine wine, ultra-premium tequila, mezcal, cognac and North American Whiskey. Along the same lines, restaurant reservations were up in April in nine out of Breakthru’s 13 markets vs the previous month (March). This is only expected to increase into the summer season.
“We have seen a large number of requests from bar and restaurant owners looking to re-open with refreshed menus featuring new, creative cocktails using high quality craft spirits,” says Alex Alfonso, Breakthru Beverage Group Beverage Development Specialist. “For the past year, many consumers have been stuck in their homes mixing classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or Margarita with standard brands. Restauranteurs and beverage teams are now looking to attract consumers back to the bar by adding innovative new cocktail recipes using brands not typically found on a consumer’s home bar. The appeal of something different, something fresh and new when developing cocktail menus this year complements the classics and bolsters variety.”