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The drinks trends to look out for in 2022

The Cocktail Service gives its predictions for the top drinks trends of 2022.

End of the gin boom?

Gin has been the “it” spirit of recent years, with the number of UK gin distilleries tripling in size since 2016.

Even through the turbulence of the past two years, gin proved to be the tonic for many, with the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) reporting a 22 per cent rise in sales from the previous year.

Whilst we expect gin to remain popular in 2022, there have been sign that this gin boom may be starting to lose its edge. Analysing search intent using Google Trends shows interest in gin soaring since 2015, but dropping after reaching a peak in 2018.

2020’s increased interest in vodka, whisky, and gin can potentially be attributed to lockdowns and restrictions, but so far there has been less interest in gin in 2021.

Tequila’s time

Tequila Educator for Promixo Spirits Oliver Pergl thinks there are several factors in play, but that education plays a big part in the growth of interest in the spirits.

“Several of the large companies (including Proximo) have put a massive focus into education & advocacy (even more so than before to my knowledge) – this has greatly helped share the message of Tequila and leading to more people being able to enjoy it.”

Proximo distributes 1800 Tequila and Jose Cuervo, and Pergl has noted a steady increase in demand for his Tequila training sessions.

According to him, the UK drinks market is no longer just about getting the “biggest bang for your buck” but about knowing “what’s under the label”.

“Due to the increase of Tequila education, people are seeing how beautiful and unique the process of making Tequila is and it’s helping inform their choices and changing their buying habits.”

So, whilst some bars will still serve tequila in the “shot, lime, and salt manner”, Pergl believes this image is one soon to be consigned to history, with trends from America (the world’s largest Tequila market) coming across to Europe. These include Tequila mixed with soda or tonic coming to across to Europe.

The rise in interest in Tequila, and other agave-based spirits like mezcal, can also be associated with increased interest in all things Mexico.

With more and more Tequila specialist bars and Mexican-inspired venues, and grocery stores stocking wider varieties of Tequila, it is the perfect time to discover this humble and extraordinary Mexican spirit.

Premium is king

Data from the wine, beer, and spirits sectors hint that post-pandemic imbibing is all about luxury and premium products.

Bacardi’s 2022 cocktail trends report notes that 50 per cent of bartenders globally report more customers opting for premium drinks.

Tequila is benefiting from this premiumisation which is driving demand; this can also be seen with Bourbon.

Due to this, we’re saying that new world whisky is one to watch, with premium products from countries including India, Taiwan and Holland launching products in the UK market.

Another beneficiary of this move to premium is Cognac. We’ve been saying for a while that Cognac is long overdue for a revival, we’ll see whether 2022 is the year it really takes off. It’s also worth keeping an eye on cachaça which is seeing growth outside of its home market of Brazil.

Ready-to-drink expansion

Whereas demand for ready-to-drink (RTD) products seems unlikely to stop, you may see some changes to the types of products on demand.

Earlier in the year, Boston Beer Co CEO Jim Koch was left nonplussed after the company had taken an “very aggressive” strategy, only to find that orders of their hard seltzer were not as high as expected.

Similarly, Constellation Brands revealed that US$66 million worth of seltzer stock had to be written off, again due to over estimating demand.

Don’t count the hard seltzer out yet, but these losses may make businesses more cautious in their strategy for 2022.

However, hard seltzers are just one small part of the ready-to-drink sector, which we expect to continue to grow next year. Recent analysis of the sector found that four out of the top 10 selling ready-to-drink products were not hard seltzers.

No- and low-alcohol

Everyone fully expects low- and no-alcohol products to continue in popularity.

Research from London’s International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR) found that more than half (58 per cent) of consumers buying low/no products chose to switch to reduced alcohol products rather than going fully sober.

Over the past few years, the non-alcoholic beer trend in Europe has been growing, and this has bled into the UK market.

Other types of drink are also seeing the change with products like French Bloom a notable example of the new wave of 0% sparkling wines coming onto the market. Similarly, brands like Cut Classics are offering 'light' spirits at an ABV of 20%, much lower than standard spirits.

As well as low-alcohol and alcohol-free versions of products like beer, wine, and spirits, expect to see reduced alcohol versions of ingredients like vermouth used in the making of cocktails, says The Cocktail Service’s drinks consultant Charlotte.


With COP26 fresh in consumers’ minds, the mood across the industry is that consumers will increasingly want to see more evidence of action taken to become more sustainable.

Packaging is a hot topic across the industry, but actions like The Savoy switching to sustainable suppliers like EcoSPIRITS show that progress can be made.

Across in the wine world, brands like The Copper Crew and Garçon Wines are tackling the issue of the carbon footprint created by glass wine bottles.

Looking at the on-trade, leading brands like Stoli Vodka are stepping up by providing scalable strategies to help the on-trade reduce waste and incorporate local providers into their supply chain.

Drinks packaging and e-commerce

Expect changes in what we package our drinks in, both for delivery and on-trade, but also for the direct-to-consumer market.

For example, sales of boxed wine soared during the first year of the pandemic. This can be attributed to consumers ordering in larger volumes during lockdown, but reports show that this trend has continued well into 2021.

Wine retailer Majestic revealed that sales of wine in alternative packaging more than tripled this year. Think: magnums, half bottles, and bag-in-box wines.

Given the trend for moderation discussed earlier, alternative packaging like The Copper Crew 250ml canned wine gives consumers control, allowing them to enjoy a glass without having to open a bottle.

Many ready-to-drink cocktail brands, including our sister company The Cocktail Society, are incorporating pouches as a delivery option.

Not only does this allow for an expanded range of sizes, but it also makes for an easier delivery – which will be key as ecommerce continues to grow. According to the IWSR, the total value of the e-commerce sector is expected to grow by 66 per cent over the next five years.

The next step for craft beer

The word in the brewing world is that a lager renaissance is just around the corner.

Industry experts tell us that the market has become so saturated with hazy India Pale Ales, that they expect 2022 to see more products like sour beers, and potentially more small independent breweries focusing on lager.

As an interesting counterpart to the rise of low and non-alcoholic beers, 2020 saw a higher demand for beers with a higher alcohol by volume (ABV).

It would seem habits are changing, with consumers split between those who choose to drink less and those who will drink less but opt for a stronger beer.

As with the lo and no sector, diversification is another beer trend to watch. 

Whereas before, companies would be known as a beer company, or a gin distiller, the future may see more brands with ranges including different types of spirits, and products like beer and wine.

Celebrity endorsements

Celebrity endorsement and drinks advertising have long gone hand in hand.

But it seems now more than ever, wily celebs have realised how much more potential profit there can be in launching their own range, as opposed to simply starring in an ad for someone else’s product.

What does this mean for the industry? Whilst there is still plenty of room in the spirits category for smaller independents, we think this is a trend well worth watching.

For example, it’s potentially driving some of the changes we’ve discussed earlier, with Oliver Pergl from Proximo Spirits citing The Rock, Kendall Jenner, and Pierce Brosnan dabbling in the Tequila world as key factors for the growth of the spirit in recent years.

We’re expecting more celebrities to launch their own products in 2022, and that in doing so, the traditional relationship between brand and consumer will shift.

21 December 2021 -