Waitrose has released its Drinks Report 2022, highlighting some of the key trends in beer, wine and spirits. From the rise in retro cocktails to eco-conscious bag-in-box wines, Pierpaolo Petrassi MW, trading director for BWS, said consumers are becoming “increasingly keen to expand their horizons when it comes to their drinks cabinet”.
Consumers are becoming more willing to try wine derived from lesser-known grapes. Waitrose’s Loved & Found range platforms a selection of “hidden gems”, with a range of new launches for Spring/Summer 2022 including an AOP Clairette du Languedoc and a light-bodied Frappato, IGP Terre Sicilia.
Classic retro cocktails such as Blue Lagoon, Tequila Sunrise and Mai Tai are back in fashion, with Sangria holding the spot of the most searched for cocktail recipe last summer. To make the most of this opportunity, Waitrose has launched a frozen Piña Colada mix in time for summer.
The use of vegetables such as carrot, beetroot and kale as cocktail ingredients is becoming ever more prevalent as adventurous consumers look for savoury alternatives to fruit-based cocktails.
As consumers become more preoccupied with sustainability, Waitrose wine buyer Barry Dick MW suggests pushing bag-in-box wine: “The bag-in-box format has a carbon footprint up to 10 times lower than glass and keeps a wine fresh for up to six weeks once opened, so it’s really practical.”
Cream liqueurs are stepping out of their seasonal niche, with summer-inspired drinks such as the limited-edition Baileys Eton Mess offering an opportunity for the category to thrive all year around rather than just at Christmas.
Once a staple for celebratory occasions, sparkling wine is becoming a favourite for casual drinking. Waitrose sparkling wine buyer Alexandra Mawson said: “Our customers now don’t need the excuse of a special occasion to open a bottle of bubbles,” with top sellers including the supermarket’s Italian Pignoletto – an affordable prosecco alternative.
Tequila has seen major growth as it becomes a popular choice for cocktails. Waitrose’s tequila sales grew by 127% between 2019 and 2021, with spirits buyer John Vine, saying: “People have realised that tequila can be really versatile – it’s no longer just about shots.” Twists on a classic Margarita are also a hit with consumers, as recipe searches for Basil Margarita and Smoky Margarita on Waitrose.com were both up more than 400%.
As the low/no category expands, Waitrose now lists almost 30 alcohol-free products in total. Much of the growth in low/no is expected to come from spirits, with Waitrose introducing two new products from Caleño non-alcoholic spirits.
Following the success of English sparkling wine, British winemakers are now moving into the still category, with top sellers including Bolney Estate Dark Harvest and the Pinot Noir Rosé from Simpsons Estate in Kent. At Waitrose, both English red and rosé saw a 70% increase in sales in 2021.
Since partnering with Deliveroo nearly two years ago, the Waitrose Drinks Report 2022 also detailed the 10 most popular choices for convenience-seeking customers:
Waitrose Pinot Grigio Veneto Italy
Beavertown Neck Oil IPA
San Leo Prosecco Brut
Henry Westons Vintage Cider
Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc
Camden Hells Lager
Waitrose Crisp & Floral Italian White
Brewdog Punk IPA