Some like it hot, and others like it bitter.
While it’s not a flavor characteristic for everyone’s palate, bitter is experiencing a resurgence across the alcoholic beverage landscape, and the classic Negroni is benefiting in a big way—and engaging a completely new generation of cocktail drinkers.
The growing popularity of Negronis—which consist of Campari, vermouth and gin—over the last couple of years comes on the heels of two key trends: the experimentation of passionate distillers crafting their own amaros (Italian for “bitter”), and young, sociable consumers who are seeking fresh flavors, premium brands and memorable experiences when they visit their favorite bars and restaurants.
Given the growing popularity of this Italian cocktail, which celebrates its 100 year anniversary this month, Negronis can be a significant asset for any on-premise establishment looking to engage premium-seeking cocktail drinkers. In fact, recent data from Nielsen CGA shows that Negroni consumers drink and eat out more, earn more and ultimately spend significantly more than the average consumers because they seek out the most premium experiences.
So given the lucrative nature of this comeback cocktail for on-premise establishments, who should bartenders be on the lookout for to maximize the opportunity? Many are young, as 36% of Negroni consumers are between 25 and 34 years old. Negroni drinkers are also affluent, as they have an average income of about $85,000, which is $20,000 more than the average U.S. consumer. They also enjoy spending their time—and money—going out for drinks to celebrate special occasions or just casually to meet up with friends.
When it comes to spending money on alcohol, fans of the bitter cocktail don’t hold back—and they’re not homebodies. In fact, 48% of Negroni drinkers say they’ve visited a fine dining establishment sometime over the last three months, which is well above 21% for the average U.S. consumer. This information proves to be good news for on-premise establishments, as it is representative of the high frequency that Negroni consumers visit these venues and purchase alcohol while inside.
So how can bars, restaurants and other on-premise venues make sure they’re not watering down this key opportunity? First, they need to understand the factors that influence Negroni drinkers to consume the classic cocktail. For starters, they are significantly more willing to pay a premium than the average U.S. consumer is. With 47% of Negroni drinkers prioritizing the quality of spirits brands they consume and 45% considering the type of venue they’re at, these consumers also enjoy to wine and dine more often than the average consumer (24% and 36%, respectively), and at a higher price.
Although Negroni drinkers expect to pay approximately $10.66 for a standard cocktail, their penchant for premium gives bartenders an opportunity to engage them with Negronis backed by premium spirits, which cost $12.28 on average. That means with proper marketing, on-premise establishments could ride the Negroni bandwagon toward notable sales returns.
By understanding the breakdown of Negroni sales by consumer, region and even time of day, on-premise establishments can position themselves more effectively to monetize the resurgence of a classic cocktail.
So if you’re still unsure if you should add the Negroni to your cocktail menu, we say it’s worth a shot.