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Vermouth and Japanese whisky among top serves in high-end London bars

Published:  09 April, 2019

Vermouth and Japanese whisky are among the most fashionable drinks in London’s top high-end bars, according to the latest CGA and DrinkUp.London's 2018 Influencers Report.

The research, which covers the ‘most influential’ bars in the capital, shows that 75% of these bars now stock whiskys from beyond mainstream producing countries like Scotland and Ireland, with Japanese whiskies among the most popular choices.

Meanwhile a fifth (21%) of managers at these bars say vermouth is also one of the most fashionable drinks, pinpointing it as a “big trend” for 2019.

In addition, the report revealed a boom in the popularity of experiential events, such as tastings and mixologist masterclasses, with 58% of visitors to the bars saying they have been to events like these in the last year, and 93% of the surveyed bars planning such activity over the next 12 months.

“The London bar market never stands still, so the challenge for operators and suppliers is to constantly identify new ways to stay one step ahead of the game. An exceptional drinks offer isn’t always enough by itself to cut it with today’s demanding and experimental consumers,” said Hannah Sherman-Cox, founder of DrinkUp.London.

Offering something “fresh and memorable - like exciting new spirits, innovative combinations of flavours or immersive experiences”, was essential for bars and brands wanting to maintain their influential and on-trend reputations, she added.

Other trends highlighted by the report include the power of social media, the rise of low and no alcohol drinks and the growing importance of sustainability.

“This report shows how quickly new drinks and serves are adopted, and how events, social media and sustainability are becoming essential elements of the London bar experience. Getting it right across the board sets brands up for success in the lucrative London market—and then further afield,” said Jonny Jones, business unit director for drinks at CGA.

The report is based on CGA’s “extensive fieldwork” gathering stocking, pricing and visibility data, plus surveys of influential London consumers and interviews with top bar managers and industry leaders. It is enhanced by analysis from experts at CGA and DrinkUp.London.