Enjoying a cocktail at the end of a long week is one of life’s joys. Whether you look forward to a well-constructed alcoholic kick, the flamboyance of a highly-skilled bartender or just being sat at a bar in the clutch of a busy Friday evening, it is not a ritual that is easily given up. However, the drink industry is seeing a trickle of pre-bottled cocktails making headway into the market.
Who do they appeal to?
Though bottles of Bucks Fizz and other nasty knock-offs have been available on supermarket shelves for years, the audience they appeal to is very different to the new products appearing on the market. The success of these companies is appealing to a certain niche. Pritesh, a flavour guru from World of Zing, told me about their customers:
“The Spirit of Zing range is designed to complement an evening of home entertaining with both aperitif and digestif style drinks. We actually identified quality wine drinkers and home entertainers as our target audience as opposed to confining ourselves to spirits enthusiasts. This audience is particularly conscious of the provenance of their food and drink and we have a number of regular customers who now buy a bottle of our cocktails alongside a bottle of wine or craft beer.”
What makes them successful?
The recent craft trend within alcohol holds strong with the pre-bottled cocktail. Customers want something that is made up of high-quality ingredients, produced in small batches to guarantee excellence. This is what helps make The World of Zing so successful:
“The Spirit of Zing team hand-crafts cocktails in small batches using bespoke bitters, liqueurs and ageing processes so that you can enjoy a world-class mixology experience in the comfort of your home!”
Tails Cocktails focuses on the businesses they appeal to as opposed to appealing to the consumer directly. Nick Wall, the founder, told me about the brand’s appeal:
“We do not see Tails as a replacement for skilled mixology but a solution for venues/customers where they cannot have mixologists or the skill level is poor or the service is slow but there is significant cocktail demand.
“Tails offers multi-award-winning cocktails with consistency, speed and ease of service without the need for expensive training and excessive ingredients. The latter also reduces waste. We deliver these attributes through bottled cocktails and now draught cocktails.
“Our key targets are casual dining, pubs and bars, hotels, airlines and events. Pre-mixed and batched cocktails are becoming so popular for all the reasons above, but primarily because they make consistent, speedy and easy to serve cocktails accessible and demand is vast and ever-increasing.”
Could they replace a bartender?
The skills of an expert bartender are not to be taken for granted and though many pre-bottled cocktails are not looking to replace the person behind the bar, there could eventually be less call for bar staff. One aspect that a pre-bottled cocktail will never be able to fulfil is customisation. Whether you just want an English Garden without the gin, or a cocktail tailor-made to your mood, and colour coordinated with your outfit, the reactive elements of mixology will never be fulfilled with a pre-bottled cocktail.