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Alcoholic Beverage Mixers and Liqueurs - US - May 2015

Dollar sales of alcoholic beverage mixers declined from 2009-14, settling at just over $315 million. While cocktail culture is in full swing, cocktails experience lower consumption than beer, wine, and spirits.

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Mixer sales declined 3% from 2009-14; cordials, liqueurs, vermouth, and aperitifs grew 14%
  • Cocktail culture highlighted in pop culture/on-premise
  • Interest in health drives call for natural, less sugar

This report includes retail sales of non-alcoholic mixers typically added to alcohol to make alcoholic cocktails and mixed drinks. Products include “just add alcohol” mixes designed for specific cocktails (eg Bloody Mary mix, Margarita mix), as well as non-alcoholic mixers that are traditionally positioned for use with alcohol to make cocktails (eg bitters, grenadine). Products covered include liquid (refrigerated, shelf stable, and frozen) and powdered mixes. The report also covers on- and off-premise sales of cordials, liqueurs, vermouth, and aperitifs.

The popularity of cocktail culture should be a boon to alcoholic beverage mixers and cordials, liqueurs, vermouth, and aperitifs. Drink trends depicted in the media and on-premise should drive interest and consumption. Manufacturers will need to stay on trend with flavor interests including less sweet, more complex varieties that offer a nod to heritage. Mixer manufacturers and marketers will need to sway consumer interest back to drinking off-premise through the lure of ease, comfort, and customization and by mimicking on-premise engagement at home. Combating RTDs can come from product innovation that answers consumer demand for natural, lower sugar products 

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Mixer sales declined 3% from 2009-14; cordials, liqueurs, vermouth, and aperitifs grew 14%
            • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of alcoholic beverage mixers, at current prices, 2009-19
            • Figure 2: Total US volume sales and fan chart forecast of cordials/liqueurs and vermouth/aperitifs, at current prices, 2009-19
          • Cocktail culture highlighted in pop culture/on-premise
            • Figure 3: Consumption location, by type, February 2015
          • Interest in health drives call for natural, less sugar
            • Figure 4: Opinions toward cocktails and mixed drinks – scratch versus mixer, February 2015
          • The opportunities
            • Customization is a major consumer draw
              • Figure 5: Reasons for drinking at home – Any rank top five, February 2015
            • Products that offer a health advantage may appeal to consumers as a lower-guilt option
              • Figure 6: Mixer innovation of interest, February 2015
            • Social media is well-suited for product promotion in the category
              • Figure 7: Where consumers learn to make cocktails and mixed drinks, February 2015
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Mixer sales declined 3% from 2009-14; cordials, liqueurs, vermouth, and aperitifs grew 14%
                • Cocktails do better on-premise than off
                  • Frozen and powdered mixers lose out to liquids
                    • Cordials/liqueurs outperform vermouth/aperitifs
                    • Cordials, Liqueurs, Vermouth, and Aperitifs Stir Things Up as Mixers Cool

                      • Mixer sales declined 3% from 2009-14; continued struggles are forecast
                        • Figure 8: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of alcoholic beverage mixers, at current prices, 2009-19
                        • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of alcoholic beverage mixers, at current prices, 2009-19
                      • Cordials, liqueurs, vermouth, and aperitifs volume grows 14%
                        • Figure 10: Total US volume sales and fan chart forecast of cordials/liqueurs and vermouth/aperitifs, at current prices, 2009-19
                        • Figure 11: Total US volume sales and forecast of cordials/liqueurs and vermouth/aperitifs, 2009-19
                    • Market Breakdown

                      • Frozen and powdered mixes continue to lose out to liquids
                        • Figure 12: Total US retail sales and forecast of alcoholic beverage mixers, by form, at current prices, 2009-14
                      • Cordials/liqueurs outperform vermouth/aperitifs
                        • Figure 13: Total US volume sales of cordials/liqueurs and vermouth/aperitifs (9-liter cases), 2009-14
                        • Figure 14: Sales of cordials/liqueurs, by type (9-liter cases), 2012-13
                    • Market Perspective

                      • Cocktails experience lowest consumption; do better on-premise than off
                        • Figure 15: Consumption location, by type (overall), February 2015
                      • Growth in RTDs challenge mixers
                        • Figure 16: Products used to make cocktails and mixed drinks, by gender and age, February 2015
                    • Market Factors

                      • Alcohol sales continue to rise; patterns favor on-premise consumption
                        • Figure 17: Alcoholic beverages, total expenditures, 2000-13
                      • Cocktail culture highlighted in pop culture/on-premise
                        • Figure 18: Consumption location, by type, February 2015
                      • On-premise trends can inform category innovation
                        • Interest in health drives call for natural, less sugar
                        • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                          • Sales performance points to the importance of convenience, spice, and versatility
                            • Heat and heritage represent bright spots for the category
                              • Sweet and colorful offerings struggle
                                • A focus on health can give products a boost
                                • Manufacturer Sales of Alcoholic Beverage Mixers

                                  • DPSG represents a quarter of mixer sales
                                    • Manufacturer sales of alcoholic beverage mixers
                                      • Figure 19: MULO sales of alcoholic beverage mixers, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2014 and 2015
                                  • Manufacturer Sales of Liqueurs, Cordials, Vermouth, and Aperitifs

                                    • Fireball shoots Sazerac into top spot
                                      • Manufacturer sales of cordials/liqueurs and vermouth/aperitifs
                                        • Figure 20: Cordial/liqueur and vermouth/aperitif sales, leading companies and brands by volume, 2012-13
                                    • What’s Working?

                                      • Heat and heritage represent bright spots for the category
                                        • Turning up the heat
                                          • A bit of nostalgia benefits heritage brands and authentic products
                                          • What’s Struggling?

                                            • Private label may suffer from lack of authenticity
                                              • Tastes appear to shift away from sweet
                                              • What’s Next?

                                                • Flavor innovation will move mixers beyond the norm
                                                  • Savory
                                                    • Aromatic
                                                      • International flavors
                                                        • A focus on health can give products a boost
                                                          • Natural
                                                            • Reduced sugar
                                                              • Versatility can expand consumption occasion
                                                                • Craft finds a place in mixers
                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                  • Under 45s are core audience
                                                                    • Customization is a major consumer draw
                                                                      • Social media is well-suited for product promotion in the category
                                                                        • All-natural ingredients will be a strong means of attracting attention
                                                                        • Consumption Location

                                                                          • Under 45s appear as core drinkers
                                                                            • Figure 21: Consumption location (cocktails), by age, February 2015
                                                                            • Figure 22: Consumption location of cordials, liqueurs, vermouth, and/or aperitifs, by age, February 2015
                                                                          • $75K-$149.9K are a target; on-premise not cost-prohibitive for cocktails
                                                                            • Figure 23: Consumption location (cocktails), by HH income, February 2015
                                                                            • Figure 24: Consumption location cordials, liqueurs, vermouth, and/or aperitifs), by HH income, February 2015
                                                                          • Hispanics are a strong target for on-premise consumption
                                                                            • Figure 25: Consumption location, by Hispanic origin, February 2015
                                                                        • Products Used to Make Cocktails and Mixed Drinks

                                                                          • Mixers may fall short on price appeal
                                                                            • Figure 26: Products used to make cocktails and mixed drinks, by gender and age, February 2015
                                                                          • Taboo beverages thrive in cocktails; cocktail-centric ingredients need a boost
                                                                            • Figure 27: Products used to make cocktails and mixed drinks, February 2015
                                                                        • Reasons for Drinking at Home

                                                                          • 87% of respondents drink at home to exercise some sort of control
                                                                            • Figure 28: Reasons for drinking at home – Themes for any rank top five, February 2015
                                                                            • Figure 29: Reasons for drinking at home – Any rank top five, February 2015
                                                                        • Where Consumers Learn to Make Cocktails and Mixed Drinks

                                                                          • Recipes inspire cocktail creation; word of mouth is also key
                                                                              • Figure 30: Where consumers learn to make cocktails and mixed drinks, by gender and age, February 2015
                                                                            • Cocktail tech
                                                                            • Opinions toward Cocktails and Mixed Drinks

                                                                              • Mixer strengths include ease/speed; challenges include taste, inflexibility, health
                                                                                • Figure 31: Opinions toward cocktails and mixed drinks – scratch versus mixer, February 2015
                                                                            • Mixer Innovation of Interest

                                                                              • A third of drinkers are interested in all-natural mixers
                                                                                • Figure 32: Mixer innovation of interest, February 2015
                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                              • Data sources
                                                                                • Sales data
                                                                                  • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                        • Appendix – Market

                                                                                            • Figure 33: Alcoholic beverages, total expenditures, 2000-13
                                                                                          • Alcoholic beverage mixers
                                                                                            • Figure 34: Total US retail sales and forecast of alcoholic beverage mixers, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-19
                                                                                            • Figure 35: Total US retail sales and forecast of alcoholic beverage mixers, by form, at current prices, 2009-19
                                                                                            • Figure 36: Total US retail sales and forecast of alcoholic beverage mixers, by channel, at current prices, 2012 and 2014
                                                                                            • Figure 37: Total US retail sales and forecast of alcoholic beverage mixers, by channel, at current prices, 2009-19
                                                                                            • Figure 38: US supermarket sales of alcoholic beverage mixers, at current prices, 2009-14
                                                                                            • Figure 39: US sales of alcoholic beverage mixers through other retail channels, at current prices, 2009-14
                                                                                          • Cordials, liqueurs, vermouth, aperitifs
                                                                                            • Figure 40: Total US volume sales of cordials/liqueurs, 2009-14
                                                                                            • Figure 41: Total US volume sales of vermouth/aperitifs, 2009-14
                                                                                            • Figure 42: Sales of cordials/liqueurs, by type, 2012-13
                                                                                            • Figure 43: Market share of vermouth/aperitifs, by supplier class, 2013
                                                                                            • Figure 44: Total US volume sales of vermouth/aperitifs and cordials/liqueurs, by type and origin, 2013
                                                                                        • Appendix – Consumer

                                                                                            • Figure 45: Cordials & liqueurs, by demographics, November 2013-December 2014
                                                                                            • Figure 46: Cordials & liqueurs, by demographics (1 of 3), November 2013-December 2014
                                                                                            • Figure 47: Cordials & liqueurs, by demographics (2 of 3), November 2013-December 2014
                                                                                            • Figure 48: Cordials & liqueurs, by demographics (3 of 3), November 2013-December 2014

                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                        • Walmart Stores (USA)

                                                                                        Alcoholic Beverage Mixers and Liqueurs - US - May 2015

                                                                                        £3,277.28 (Excl.Tax)