Liqueurs enjoyed a revival in 2018, with British people consuming 42m bottles at home or in pubs, bars and restaurants in an attempt to keep up with the social media cocktail craze.
UK shops recorded a bumper year for bottle sales over the 12 months to early September, helped by a summer heatwave that boosted the appeal of cocktails such as the Aperol spritz and herbal bitter Campari.
“This summer saw an explosion in popularity of herbal bitter liqueurs and red-orange aperitifs mixed with sparkling wine,” said the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA). “These drinks, served in pretty stem glasses, proved very Instagrammable, and consumers were keen to share their snaps of the vibrant, colourful cocktails on social media.”
After buying drinks at the almost 74% of UK bars that now serve cocktails across the country, consumers were increasingly keen to copy drinks enjoyed on a night out.
The latest figures released by the trade body show that shoppers expanded their drinks cabinet, resulting in a 56% rise in non-cream liqueur sales at UK shops and supermarkets over the 12 weeks to 8 September.
It means shoppers bought 4m bottles over the period, up 1.4m from a year earlier. The trend will have been welcomed by shops across the country, which sell a bottle for Aperol for about £10-£12. Campari’s range, meanwhile, can run up to £16 a bottle.
Cream liqueurs such as Baileys and Kahlua have also grown in popularity, with sales in shops and supermarkets jumping 33% over the 12-week period to early September, to about 1.7m bottles.
Miles Beale, chief executive of the trade association, said: “In the past liqueurs have often been overlooked in the spirits category, but the WSTA market report shows a surge in sales in the UK’s shops and supermarkets in 2018.
“This is partly down to Britain’s long, hot summer, when tall cocktails over ice were a welcome relief in the heatwave. But the liqueur boom has also been influenced by people sharing cocktail creation trends on social media, with consumers keen to recreate these drinks at home.”