The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Distinct opportunity for mixed drinks in the New Zealand on-premise

CGA by NIQ’s latest New Zealand Pulse+ Report explores current levels of awareness and engagement with the mixed drink category in the on-premise.

The report takes an up-close look at how drinks brands and operators can optimise the most popular drinks in the category, while also identifying opportunities to promote alcopops, pre-mixed cocktails, hard seltzers, and pre-mixed spirits to the right audiences at the right times.

According to the report, consumer awareness for different types of mixed drinks available in the on-premise is relatively high – but this doesn’t necessarily convert into sales.

For example, pre-mixed spirits with mixers are the most popular types of drinks in the category, with 62% awareness versus 32% of consumers who drink them in pubs, bars, and other similar venues.

CGA by NIQ says this is a consistent pattern with other drinks in the category with 44% awareness of pre-mixed cocktails versus 24% consumption, 47% awareness of alcopops versus 16% consumption, and 37% awareness of hard seltzer versus 12% consumption.

Despite a high level of awareness of mixed drinks, only two in six consumers perceive themselves to be knowledgeable about the variety of mixed drinks available in the on-premise, says the report.

This lack of consumer clarity creates huge potential for overlap between each mixed drink type and for the lines to be blurred.

This is reflected in the answers consumers gave when asked the question: “If you were choosing a mixed drink to have when out in a pub or bar, which of the following would you prefer to have?” – 75% said a classic mixed drink such as a margarita cocktail, while 25% said a combined mixed drink such as a margarita hard seltzer.

So, what does this mean for the current state of mixed drinks, and how the category can be leveraged now and in the future?

There’s a visible overlap in consumers’ perceptions of quality and flavour associations across each mixed drink type, which further blurs the lines between them, says CGA by NIQ.

A focus on mixed drink product hybrids could overcome consumption issues by engaging consumers using existing drink categories and flavours that are already enjoyed.

James Phillips, Client Solutions Director – ANZ says the report provides evidence of confusion around the mixed drink category.

“Half of consumers consider all the different types of mixed drinks to be under one ‘umbrella’ category, competing against each other for the same spaces in venues and on drinking occasions.

“This uncertainty creates opportunities for experimentation with customised drinks offerings,” he says.

“But at the same time, it also indicates great potential for classic mixed drinks, which three out of four consumers prefer when given the choice, rather than blurring the lines to make hybrid options appealing as sub-categories.”

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